Special Measures – what does it mean?

We have heard recently that one of the local secondary schools, Oakmeeds Community College in Burgess Hill,  has been put into special measures, but what does this actually mean and how does it happen? Before a school is put into Special Measures, they have been inspected by Ofsted and found to be Inadequate. Ofsted define Inadequate to mean:

“A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and requires significant improvement but leadership and management are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.”

However, a school in special measures is defined by Ofsted as:

” A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.”

In the case of Oakmeeds Community College, GCSE results had been falling over recent years and the previous year showed particularly poor results. Children are not making as much progress as they should be and in Ofsted’s opinion the Leadership/Management team and Governors should have been working on how to improve their results.

The school will have to adapt their current School Improvement plan or write a new plan explaining how they will rectify the problems that Ofsted have identified. Schools in Special Measures will be supported by the Local Authority and HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspectors) to action their plan and be able to show their improvements. For Oakmeeds Community College this will mean a lot of work to ensure that the standards are kept up, all paperwork is completed, training is effective and correct support is being given. Depending on the Local Authority, staff may be seconded from other schools, consultants may be brought in and schools may be partnered with other succeeding schools.

Parents should be informed that a school has been put into Special Measures and what the plans of the school are. There may be meetings that they can attend to participate in the development of the school. Through all of this they should support their child. The child should still be able to make progress and reach their academic potential.

Special measures can often mean a quick turnover of staff. Whilst a school is in special measures they are usually only allowed to employ experienced teachers (not newly qualified teachers) so that they can be assured that classroom practice is secure. Parents should support the school through these times of change. It can be unfortunate and disruptive for the child but in the future should help to redress the problems that the school have been having. With a change of staff can also come a change of leadership, again parents should be supportive as this will help the school in times to come.

Star Education is able to work with children of any ability to achieve their full academic potential. This could be on a short term basis to support pupils whilst they may be unsettled by changes in their day to day schooling or on a longer term to support their learning as they progress through the education system. We offer free consultations in your own home to assess a child’s current ability and identify areas of future development and extended learning.


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