Damning verdict for faltering school

St Augustine of Canterbury Roman Catholic High School in St Helens.
St Augustine of Canterbury Roman Catholic High School in St Helens.
Share this article

Education chiefs have pledged to drive up standards after a St Helens school was adjudged “inadequate” in a damning Ofsted report.

St Augustine of Canterbury School was found to have “serious weaknesses” following a visit by the education watchdog.

The achievement of pupils and quality of teaching at the Boardmans Lane school were both judged “inadequate”, while management and leadership were also found to need improvement.

A joint statement on behalf of both St Helens Council and the Liverpool Archdiocese read: “The report recognises that the leadership at the school are already taking decisive action and, as a result, teaching and achievement are improving.

“We know the staff at the school are working hard to turn things around, but we will also be introducing a number of measures to speed up improvements.

“Both the council and the Archdiocese are already working closely with the school to strengthen the support we provide – and have brought in an excellent and highly regarded former HM Inspector to work with schools – including St Augustine’s - that need help.”

It added: “Other ‘outstanding’ schools across the North West have also been identified and will be bringing their expertise to bear at schools in St Helens, along with specialist leaders in subjects like English and maths.

“We will also be working with school governors to strengthen their roles in enhancing school performance.”

The St Augustine’s report came just weeks after Michael Cladingbowl, Ofsted’s regional director for the North West, criticised the state of secondary education in St Helens.

Just 47 per cent of secondary school pupils across the borough attend a school that is rated either “good” or “outstanding”.

But the picture for St Helens’s primary schools is much rosier, with 89 per cent of primary school pupils attending schools rated “good” or better.

Patrick White, of the National Union of Teachers, said teacher support and training were key to turning around the fortunes of St Augustine’s.

He said: “Yes, there have been weaknesses found, and, obviously, that’s not good news for the school or local authority.

“But the school has already started to focus on some areas of weakness and I have no doubt that the school leaders, the teachers and the local authority will be working extremely hard to ensure the school addresses those weaknesses.

“Hopefully we will see marked improvements there in the next 12 to 18 months.”