Overhauled school still under-performing

Rainford High's headteacher Ian Young
Rainford High's headteacher Ian Young
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Education watchdogs say one of St Helens’ flagship schools is still under-performing – despite a management overhaul since its last inspection.

Ofsted found that Rainford High Technology College still “requires improvement” after sending five inspectors to the Higher Lane school on February 27 and 28 this year.

They found that the teaching quality, leadership and management and achievement of the pupils were all below par.

The behaviour and safety of pupils was found to be good, but the overall picture remained the same as the previous assessment back in September 2012.

Although the attainment and progress made by students by the end of Year 11 remains significantly above the national average, the teaching was not deemed good enough to ensure rapid progress for all pupils.

The gap between the achievement of students supported by the pupil premium and that of their classmates has widened and the achievement in science, in particular, must improve.

Inspectors also found that pupil targets were over-complex and confusing.

They did, however, find strong governance at the school and believe headteacher Ian Young “knows exactly what needs to be done to improve the school further”.

Mr Young said: “The report shows where the school is on its journey towards being a good school and in the future an outstanding school. It has no surprises and highlights the many positive improvements that have been made since the last inspection.”

Rainford often posts some of the best GCSE and A-level results in the borough but has regularly been criticised by Ofsted 
in recent years.

Although, Ofsted raised no concerns about pupil behaviour, two students were arrested 18 months after setting off a CS gas canister in the school’s canteen.

The report comes after a troubled few months for St Helens faltering secondary school sector.

Last month, John Gannon, principal of Hope Academy and chair of governors Prof Bart McGettrick, resigned following concerns about failing standards. St Cuthbert’s in Sutton was also recently the subject of a damning Ofsted report which blasted teaching and management levels at the school.

A taskforce - launched by council leader Barrie Grunewald - has been set up to look into the reasons behind the chasm in performance between the borough’s booming primary schools and its under-performing