Steps to escape special measures

Heanor Gate Science College Rob Howard headteacher
Heanor Gate Science College Rob Howard headteacher

Heanor Gate Science College is making progress to emerge from special measures, a recent Government report has revealed.

The Kirkley Drive school was graded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) inspectors after they visited in September 2013 - only two years after it was found to be ‘outstanding’ by the same government watchdog.

The school was told to make sure that all teaching is good or better, raise the achievement of all groups, particularly the most-able and disabled students and those who have special educational needs, improve behaviour and safety, reduce the numbers of exclusions, and improve leadership and management.

Since the last inspection, two members of staff and three members of the governing body and academy trust have resigned.

Inspector Zarina Connolly, appointed in December to help get the school back on track, said: “Having considered all the evidence, I am of the opinion that at this time the academy is making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures. The academy may appoint newly qualified teachers.”

During the two-day inspection, inspectors found that the predicted outcomes for Year 11 suggest a marked improvement in achievement in English, maths and science, the achievement of students in the sixth form is better than last year and the progress seen in lessons was strong - but the progress of the more able students, those in Key Stage 3 and those eligible for the Pupil Premium still requires improvement.

The report noted that teachers have benefited from training opportunities. It said: “The quality of teaching in the sixth form is good and the teaching of mathematics in both Key Stage 4 and the sixth form is good. The quality of teaching in English and science is variable especially in Key Stage 3.”

Fixed term exclusions have dropped ‘dramatically’ since the last inspection and attendance has improved ‘significantly and is now above the national average.’ Inspectors observed ‘mainly cooperative and respectful behaviour’ in lessons, ‘though a small number students interviewed said that in certain classes there is low level disruption.’

The full report is published on the Ofsted website and the school’s website.

Head teacher Rob Howard said: “I am sure you will agree there are many positive comments in the report and we are moving in the right direction. Clearly there are still areas of development that we need to continue to work on.”

The Department for Education has now also agreed the next steps for the college to be sponsored by the George Spencer Academy Trust To find more about the trust visit

Mr Howard added: “If all goes to plan over the next few months then the conversion should take place by 1 September 2014. The school is also planning to have a parent’s forum sometime after Easter with the executive principal of the trust, Susan Jowett, who will outline the process and answer any questions.”