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Updated: Jun 26

David McGrath, headteacher, advising budding gardeners at Danesfield Middle School

Image: David McGrath, headteacher, advising budding gardeners at Danesfield Middle School

One year on from its last monitoring inspection, when Ofsted inspectors visited Danesfield Church of England Voluntary Controlled Middle School (Danesfield School) in Taunton, over the 20-21 June period this year, they found a range of improvements.

Although the overall judgment is ‘Requires Improvement’ (RI), the school was judged to be good for ‘personal development’, and inspectors noted that ‘pupils’ personal development is a strength of the school.’

They went on to say that ‘pupils are positive about personal, social and health education and have a range of opportunities to develop their leadership skills, including becoming prefects, reading mentors and school council members.’

Inspectors also said that ‘parents and pupils are appreciative of the range of enrichment activities that are on offer’ and that ‘leaders have prioritised the development of reading’ after a clear focus on helping the weakest readers began last year.

Commenting on the report, David McGrath, headteacher, was encouraged that the tone of the report overall was positive. He said:

“There have been plenty of opportunities over the summer holidays to read and review some of the comments made in the report and we are proud of some of the aspects the inspectors were able to observe and highlight. As leaders we have been clear about what needed to happen to develop the school, and this is reflected in the report and in the advice they offer.

“Phrases such as ‘pupils are kind and friendly’ … ‘relationships between staff and pupils are strong’ … ‘leaders act quickly and decisively when pupils talk to adults about their worries’ … ‘leadership has focused on raising expectations of pupils’ behaviour and developing the curriculum’, all these comments combineto highlight that we are on an upward trend, which is a phrase frequently used by the inspection team.

“We are fully aware we are not there yet, and the outcome was not the one we wanted for areas of the school, but I am of the opinion that the community has full faith and belief that we will accelerate this progress and upward trend to offer the best for all our young people.”

The previous year’s Ofsted inspectors remarked that leaders and those responsible for governance were taking effective action in order for the school to become a good school and in this latest report, inspectors realised that many of their 2021 recommendations had been addressed but it was still too early to comment on the outcomes.

Hayley Lake, Chair of Danesfield School’s Academic Improvement Board, added:

“We were pleased to receive a judgment of good for personal development, which reinforces the commitment we have to all children to ensure that their best interests lie at the heart of all decision making.

“Our core values are Ambition, Respect and Excellence and we have a relentless focus on improving outcomes for every child in our care. We have implemented a range of new procedures over the last year and will continue to redouble our efforts in the areas Ofsted has recommended on our journey to becoming a Good school.”

CEO, Robert Lakin added: “Although we still have some way to go with the overall improvement of Danesfield School, I take heart from this report, which is one of the most positive RI reports I have seen in my career.”


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