Dudley education bosses hit back after damning Ofsted report on controversial school

Dudley News: Hurst Hill Primary School has been branded inadequate and placed into special measures by Ofsted 271428L Hurst Hill Primary School has been branded inadequate and placed into special measures by Ofsted 271428L

BOSSES at a controversial Dudley borough school have hit back after a damning verdict from government inspectors.

Hurst Hill Primary School hit the headlines earlier this year when a group of parents threatened to keep their children at home following allegations of bullying.

The Paul Street school, on the outskirts of Sedgley and Woodsetton, has been described as inadequate by government watchdogs who even claim school leaders do not give accurate information to governors.

The shocking report, based in an inspection carried out in May, says teaching is inadequate and attainment has been below national expectations for the last three years.

Inspectors also found pupil behaviour and safety was inadequate; they said: “Isolated pockets of bullying are not managed urgently and effectively. Exclusions and persistent absences remain too high.

“Relationships with a small group of parents have broken down, consequently they lack confidence in the leadership of the school.

“The effectiveness of the governing body is limited because the progress information members receive from school leaders is not sufficiently clear and accurate.”

However the school, seemingly with support from Dudley’s Local Education Authority (LEA), has gone on the offensive – claiming inspectors got it wrong.

Hurst Hill head teacher, Caroline Dingle, has complained to Ofsted about its findings, the inspection process and the conduct of the inspection team.

The school argues the latest inspection was brought forward from its scheduled date next spring after complaints from parents and the school had not had time to address their concerns.

Mrs Dingle says improvement measures are now in place and added: “We are an improved and successful school and always strive for the best educational standards for our pupils. “Our pupils will continue to be at the heart of everything we do, and we will continue to work with the local authority, parents and governors to raise standards further.”

Dudley LEA believes the school, which has now been placed into special measures, has the capacity to make necessary improvements.

The authority, which has also complained to Ofsted, said: “It is the local authority’s belief that this judgement sits in contradiction to the evidence presented to and available for the inspectors, making a judgement of special measures is unsafe and unsound.”

Councillor Tim Crumpton, Dudley cabinet member for children's services, said: "We are continuing to work closely with the school to offer help and support for staff and pupils including providing links with local high performing schools and appointing an extra governor to give extra help moving forward."

Ofsted acknowledges the majority of parents’ views were positive however its reasons for placing Hurst Hill in special measures are a hammer blow for school chiefs.

Ofsted said: “It is failing to give its pupils and acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing and governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement.”

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