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28th May, 2022

'Thrilled' school staff celebrate Ofsted 'good' rating

Editorial Correspondent 29th Sep, 2021 Updated: 29th Sep, 2021

‘THRILLED’ staff at Rugby Free Secondary School (RFSS) have celebrated its Ofsted rating being upgraded from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Good’ across all areas.

The Ofsted report says pupils ‘embody the school values of kindness and respect,’ relationships between staff and pupils are strong, and the school teaches pupils about ‘the skills they need to succeed in modern Britain’.

The result of the latest inspection represents a significant turnaround for the school after a troubled beginning which saw it rated ‘Inadequate with Serious Weaknesses’ for ineffective teaching, low morale and disruptive behaviour by Ofsted in 2019, three years after it opened.

But the latest report says pupils’ behaviour is ‘respectful and calm,’ and that they learn a ‘broad and ambitious curriculum’.

RFSS spent its first three years in temporary accommodation, and lockdown began just days after students finally moved into its £25million new building in Anderson Avenue.

Headteacher Samirah Roberts – who was permanently appointed the day before the first lockdown – said: “We were very much looking forward to having a full Ofsted inspection and although the end of term was quite challenging due to a rise in Covid cases, teachers are very resilient and were able to really demonstrate the progress we have made over the last two years in building a broad and creative curriculum.

“Inspectors spent many hours talking to students, and it was humbling to hear the positive reports of their experiences.”

Kiera Humphries, a sixth form student who has been at RFSS since it opened, said: “The school has really changed since we opened. We are in a brand new building which is safe and welcoming, teachers are supportive. Miss Roberts has been an inspiration to all of the staff and students at RFSS and played a huge part in the transformation.”

Chair of the School’s Sustainable Improvement Board, Tom Legge, said: “Miss Roberts got the call from Ofsted on her first day back having been struck down by Covid for two weeks, and the week before we had 26 members of staff off with Covid or self-isolation. Despite knowing how far the school had come, it didn’t appear to be great timing.

“However, there was not a dry eye in the room when we received the judgement from Ofsted. All credit to the Head, her staff and most of all the students at the school who were a credit to themselves, their families and the town.

“As a trustee, I’m excited to be a part of the team that will take the school on to ‘Outstanding’ at its next inspection.”

Brenda Mullen, CEO of the Learning Today Leading Tomorrow Trust which runs RFSS, said: “We are delighted that we are now fulfilling our mission to offer good quality education to children from 4 to 19 years in Rugby. I am particularly thrilled that inspectors recognised the inclusive approach we have.

“The school’s Sustainable Improvement Board has fulfilled its function to rapidly drive improvement and will now be replaced by an Educational Excellence Committee as Learning Today Leading Tomorrow moves into the next phase of its journey.”

Coun Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Councillor for Bilton and Hillside, said: “Ofsted’s report shows a tremendous amount of progress. Everyone involved with RFSS can feel proud that they have contributed towards the positive findings of Ofsted’s report.

“I feel confident that, given the strong collaboration and co-operation that was highlighted between everyone involved with the school, the qualities the report highlights will be sustained and built upon. Congratulations to everyone on making such a difference.”

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