Halifax secondary school placed in special measures

A SECONDARY school has been rated as inadequate in all key areas and placed in special measures by Ofsted.

Park Lane Learning Trust, Exley in Halfax.
Park Lane Learning Trust, Exley in Halfax.

Park Lane Learning Trust, in Halifax, was previously rated as good. But the latest report said that since 2013 and until fairly recently the leadership of the school, had been in a “state of confusion and turmoil.”

Ofsted does praise the school’s acting headteacher for making a positive difference. It says his “clear forensic analysis of the school’s weaknesses has effectively rationalised the roles and responsibilities of senior leaders, started to tackle weak teaching and begun to improve the accuracy of teacher assessments.”

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Highlighting issues at the school the report says: “Over time leaders at all levels, including middle leaders, have had an inaccurate and overly optimistic view as to how pupils are achieving.”

The report says too many pupils do not attend regularly. And it says a narrow and inappropriate GCSE curriculum leads to too many pupils, including girls, the most able, disadvantaged pupils, and those with special educational needs or a disability not making sufficient progress.

Park Lane is a learning trust comprised of Crossley Heath School, Huddersfield University, Together Housing and Calderdale Council. The council’s director of children and young people’s services Stuart Smith said the school and council’s top priority was for pupils to reach their potential.

He added: “We recognise there are issues at the school, but we are confident in its headteacher and senior management team, who are thoroughly committed to their pupils and are working very hard to turn things around. Within the last year improvements have already begun and the new leadership arrangements have been recognised by Ofsted as already having an impact.”

It was reported last month that Park Lane Learning Trust is set to become an academy in September after the Department for Education issued an academy order. It will mean that Park Lane will join Brighter Futures Multi-Academy Trust.

Brighter Futures is a local multi academy trust led by executive head, Lynda Johnson, consisting of Field Lane Primary, Rastrick; Luddenden Foot Academy and Siddal Primary, Halifax, all outstanding primary schools.