28/03/2012 - Permalink

The Grange and Sundorne secondary schools in Shrewsbury plan closer links

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Two Shrewsbury secondary schools will work closer together in the future as governors look to establish a federation to improve educational opportunities for pupils. 

The Grange and Sundorne schools already have well-established links, and governors are now proposing a formal federation to build on the positive relations between the schools. 

Under a federation schools can have a joint governing body, share staff and resources to improve efficiency, and offer more choice of curriculum and support to pupils. 

The proposals come as a welcome boost to The Grange School following a recent Ofsted inspection which placed the school into special measures, with governors and staff now working closely with advisers from Shropshire Council to ensure that improvements are quickly put in place. 

Ofsted inspectors said that, while there were examples of good teaching at The Grange, the overall quality and effectiveness of teaching was inadequate, and steps needed to be taken to improve standards.  The report also said that school development would benefit from a clearer strategic vision, and inspectors praised senior staff for their hard work ethic. 

Inspectors noted that attendance had improved, but said more work needed to be done to raise the behaviour levels of some pupils.  Inspectors also highlighted positive examples of good teaching, particularly in the performing arts, saying: “In this area, all groups of students, including those who are disabled or have special educational needs, are able to excel and participate fully in high quality activities… Through the performing arts, students gain a sense of pride and improved self-confidence and self-respect”. 

Council education officials are confident that The Grange federating with Sundorne, which is rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted with “outstanding capacity for sustained improvement”, will be beneficial for pupils at both schools.  By federating with Sundorne, The Grange will be able to adopt some of the successful teaching practices already in place at Sundorne, with the aim of raising standards quickly. 

Julia Thomas, Headteacher at The Grange School, said:-

“We were very disappointed to go into ‘special measures’.  We are always working hard to raise standards, and being part of a federation with Sundorne School will really help us to make improvements in both teaching and learning, and leadership and management.  A formal federation means that we will benefit from Sundorne’s strengths, which will enable us to bring about rapid improvement and sustain this over time.  Sundorne and Grange already work closely together to support the young people and communities in north Shrewsbury; we see this as an exciting opportunity to ensure quality education and enhanced provision.”

Geoff Pettengell, Headteacher at Sundorne School, said:-

“The federation is a fantastic opportunity to reshape and improve secondary education in north Shrewsbury.  There are many potential benefits, including greater curriculum choice for students at Key Stage 4, improved attainment, the financial benefits of the economy of scale, and the enhanced ability to recruit and retain great staff in a larger organisation.”

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for education and skills, said:

“The leadership and governors at The Grange accept that standards need to be raised, and were already working on improvements before the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection.  A federation will provide long-term benefits to pupils at both schools.  They have been working closely anyway in recent years, and federating the schools will help secure their financial future as well as giving support to the teaching staff at The Grange at a time when they need direction and confidence to make the urgent progress required.” 

The governing bodies at The Grange and Sundorne will be discussing the details of how the federation will work over the coming weeks and months.