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Poltair 'needs to improve'

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 01, 2014

Stephen Tong, head teacher at Poltair School,

Stephen Tong, head teacher at Poltair School,

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THE QUALITY of teaching at a St Austell secondary school is not up to scratch, the education watchdog has said.

Following an inspection at Poltair School at the end of November, Ofsted inspectors said the school requires improvement in three out of the four assessment areas – achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management.

The final assessment area, the behaviour and safety of pupils, was deemed to be good.

The report, published last week, said: "The proportion of students gaining the highest grades of A* and A in GCSE examinations is too low, as are the proportions making good or better progress in English and, especially, mathematics."

It continued: "While the majority of teaching is good, there is little that is outstanding and too much that requires improvement. Teaching tasks are insufficiently varied and questioning is not always used effectively to check what students have learned."

The inspectors reported that during their time at the school they observed a design and technology lesson in which "neither the teacher nor the Year 10 students seemed entirely sure of the examination for which they were being prepared".

Inspectors said the number of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs has increased but is still below the national average.

The report said: "The proportion of students gaining five or more good GCSE passes, including English and mathematics, at the end of Year 11, is well below the national average, although there has been a steady improvement in this measure over the past three years.

"In 2012 the proportion of leavers not achieving at least five GCSE passes increased significantly as too many students did not complete their GCSE courses. There was some improvement in this measure in 2013."

Following their inspection at the school, which has 737 pupils on the register, the inspectors praised the behaviour of students and said there is little bullying.

The report said: "Students are well-behaved, friendly and articulate. They are keen to learn and have good skills of learning independently and in groups."

The governors were also praised. "The governing body has a good range of expertise and community representation, including representatives from the primary and further education sectors," the report said.

A statement from Poltair School said the report showed improvements are being made and the school is "on the up". Head teacher Stephen Tong, said the focus was now on making further improvements.

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