Inspectors give second ‘weak’ rating to Clifton Hunter

Government school inspectors have issued their latest report on Clifton Hunter High School. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Government inspectors say Clifton Hunter High School has made some, but not enough, progress since they last visited the school six months ago and rated it as ‘weak’, the lowest of four possible grades. The school was given a weak rating again in the Office of Education Standards’ follow-up report.

Among six recommendations the school was given in the last report, it has made satisfactory progress on only two, inspectors determined.

The school is failing to meet established standards in student achievement, school curriculum, student assessment and controlling classroom behaviour. It has made satisfactory progress in improving teaching quality and making sure students are in age-appropriate grades.

There was no response to an email to Principal Pauline Beckford requesting comment.

Peter Carpenter, director of the Office of Education Standards, said even though it has only been six months since the previous inspection, he and his staff wanted to see more progress in meeting the recommendations they had previously outlined.

“In the time available, we anticipate certain levels of progress,” Carpenter said. “We have to have signs of growth.”

He said he hopes the groundwork is being laid for better results in the future.

“We were encouraged by the two areas (deemed satisfactory),” he said. “We do think teaching is getting better and, if that continues, we’d expect to see improvement in student achievement.”

Achievement, the report said, is a continuing problem across the board.

“At the end of term 1 in [the] 2018-19 academic year, the school’s own internal information showed that attainment in Key Stage 3 was still weak in English, mathematics and science for all year groups,” the report said. “Inspection information from lesson observations and from a review of students’ exercise books agreed that attainment remained weak in all three core subjects.”

While satisfactory progress was seen in a couple of areas – the school’s internal assessment showed satisfactory performance in mathematics and science for Key Stage 3 – in all other areas, it was below accepted standards.

“Teaching in mathematics and science had improved from weak to satisfactory,” the report said, “however, in English there had been no improvement. A number of other subjects were observed during the follow-through inspection, including information technology, business studies, art and drama and in these subjects teaching was satisfactory or better.”

But the report also found that faculty was failing to implement new tools for raising performance.

“Teachers had received additional training on a range of classroom teaching techniques aimed at improving students’ progress,” it said. “However, as yet, these techniques were not being used consistently.”

A survey of only 20 parents found just 42% felt the school is doing a satisfactory job. Of the 555 students surveyed, 59%, were satisfied with the education they were being provided.

In a survey of 51 faculty and staff members, 88% thought the school was doing a good job. However, staff also said the school was not well led (50%), they did not have adequate resources (56%) and were equally split (44%) on whether the school does enough to support its professional growth.

Because it was rated as weak, inspectors will return to the school within six months.

A copy of the full survey can be found at www.oes.gov.ky.