Caistor head shows off school after Ofsted report fiasco

Caistor Yarborough Academy headteacher Mark Midgley EMN-200127-122850001
Caistor Yarborough Academy headteacher Mark Midgley EMN-200127-122850001

The Rasen Mail was this week invited to Caistor Yarborough Academy to see first hand how the school operates.

The visit came after Ofsted inspectors gave the school a ‘Requires Improvement’ rating following a two-day inspection last November.

Caistor Yarborough Academy. EMN-200120-141915001

Caistor Yarborough Academy. EMN-200120-141915001

Caistor Yarborough Academy (CYA) headteacher Mark Midgley was left feeling furious when the report was issued earlier this month and lodged a 11,5000-word complaint to the education watchdog.

Mr Midgley slammed the report, saying it did not take into account a power cut that meant teachers could not access any resources on the first day of the inspection.

On a tour of the school this week, Mr Midgley showed the Rasen Mail students hard at work in their classrooms, improvements that have been made to the school building and the motivational words that adorn the school corridors, encouraging students to achieve their potential.

Speaking from his office at CYA, Mr Midgley said he has now ‘moved on’ from the low Ofsted rating.

He said: “We will continue to do the job we do and the job we’re good at, which is educating children.

“I’ve moved on from the Ofsted report.

“The parents have been really supportive - I’ve had 30 or 40 emails.

“The school’s been on a journey since I’ve been here - it’s come a long way in 36 months, from a really quite low starting point.

“We did have a £750,000 deficit and we’re now in the black.

“We’ve got some really high performing staff - the school had struggled with recruitment, but I’ve had two emails this week asking if we’ve got any vacancies.

“Parents now say there are two schools in Caistor to choose from.

“A number of staff send their own kids here.

“The school continues to perform at a really high level in terms of achievement.

“I’d have any member of staff here teach my own children.

“They work tirelessly to get the best outcome for our students.

“Because we’re a small and inclusive school, every child has a personalised curriculum.

“I had four heads here yesterday doing a review - they just went off and were like ‘wow Mark’.

“I’ve been a leader for a long time, in challenging schools, in challenging situations.

“One of the strengths of this school is SEND [special educational needs and disability]

“There’s no possibility the school has gone backwards.

“I wasn’t worried about Ofsted coming in - I thought we would get a ‘Good’ [rating].

“The school has developed over time, every performance indicator has improved.”

Mr Midgley said he had been due to receive a response from Ofsted by January 23, but this has now been delayed until February 6.

Mr Midgley said he had been informed this was due to the large number of issues raised in his complaint.

Mr Midgley is now calling for a new inspection under ‘normal, fair and reasonable circumstances’.

He said inspectors spent two days at the school and assessed teaching standards on day one - when the school had no power.

The school was found to be ‘Good’ in all other areas, but the low ‘quality of education’ judgement meant the overall rating was brought 
down.

Lincolnshire County Council interim assistant director for education, Martin Smith said: “As a local authority, we do not inspect schools, as this is the function of Ofsted.

“However, we have visited the school over recent years and have seen positive action being taken to bring about a number of improvements.

“We are aware of the school’s complaint to Ofsted, and the academy will be keeping us informed of the outcome of this complaint.”

An Ofsted spokesman said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases but take every complaint seriously.”