Ofsted report hailed as ‘momentous milestone’ by Todmorden High headteacher

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Todmorden High School has been judged by Ofsted as a ‘Good’ school for the first time since the school inspections began.

Over the last two years, Todmorden High School, first inspected by Ofsted in February, 2002, has moved from the bottom five per cent of schools nationally to the top third of schools nationally.

The “Good” rating is the second highest, and the school will now be concentrating its efforts in achieving the highest level, “Outstanding”.

Every adult associated with the school including governors, the leadership team, all staff and key colleagues from the local authority have worked tirelessly to secure the judgement - the team is described as exuding “high expectations on the part of all students in this rapidly improving school.”

Headteacher Andrew Whitaker said: “This is a momentous milestone in our journey towards Todmorden High School becoming an outstanding school; this is what the students and the community of Todmorden so richly deserve.

“I am delighted that the inspection team were united with us in the view that we have a very special and outstanding group of students here at Todmorden High School.”

The report says Todmorden High School is a community school where students feel extremely safe - Ofsted marked this aspect Outstanding - and well looked after.

Students were commended from the way that they welcome visitors into the school, to the ways in which they take steps to ensure that their peers are always included in friendship groups and activities, and the excellent way in which they conduct themselves in between lessons and at break and lunchtimes.

Students were also praised for the way in which they embrace their responsibilities as student leaders. Students are mature and self-motivated, they think increasingly for themselves in lessons and they are articulate in a school climate of openness where views are listened to by staff and peers respectively.

Students are allowed to thrive and make exceptional progress regardless of their starting point and all students achieve well, said the report, in particular those with special educational needs, disabilities and high achieving students.

Ofsted’s report says: “The school’s information and work in students’ books indicate that this wave of improvement is sustained throughout the school.”

The proportions of students making expected and more-than-expected progress in English and Mathematics were now “above national expectations and rising strongly”, says the report.

Teachers plan “motivating and thought provoking lessons which challenge students and encourages a curiosity for learning”. The teaching staff were praised for the supportive relationships they have with students in a school where “teachers know their students well”.

The focus on reaching the top grade will be on further developing children’s writing skills, insisting students respond to feedback and improving elements of its Sixth Form education.

Sixth Form provision is already good where most students entering it are increasingly attaining challenging end-of-Year-13 targets, says the report.

A full copy of the report can be found on the Todmorden High School website and on the Ofsted website.