EDUCATION watchdog Ofsted has run the rule over Wallingford School after headteacher Wyll Willis asked for a return visit. Last year, an Ofsted report lowered the school’s rating from “good” to “satisfactory”, prompting the head to call for them to come back as soon as possible.
On Thursday and Friday last week, a team of five inspectors toured the school to assess whether its rating should be changed.
Mr Willis called for the inspection to take place before the next one was due in 2013 following pupils’ outstanding GCSE results this year. After 75 per cent of pupils got five A* to C grades in English and maths, the best GCSE results achieved at the school, Mr Willis urged the inspectors to visit at the earliest possible opportunity, claiming the school should now be rated “good” or even “outstanding”.
Shortly before the inspectors arrived, Mr Willis told parents on the school’s website that staff were pleased they were coming before they were normally due between May and July next year.
He added: “It is also a rather tense prospect but we are rather more pleased than concerned. With the best results in the county, and things in school going so well this year, we have to be fairly confident of a successful visit.”
Ofsted is not expected to publish the result of last week’s inspection until next month.
Mr Willis asked for the early inspection because he was concerned prospective parents would be put off by the “satisfactory” rating when choosing a school for their children. Earlier this year, Mr Willis took the unusual step of hiring a team of Ofsted-trained inspectors for an unofficial inspection.
The school picked up “good” marks in three out of four categories, an improvement on the “satisfactory” rating.
Mr Willis said: “We were scheduled for an official Ofsted inspection as late as July 2014. I would hate for people to think we were only ‘satisfactory’ for that long.”
The school in St George’s Road, which has about 1,130 pupils and 200 members of staff, became an academy last year.
Chairman of governors Ian Domville, of Benson, whose son Martin, 16, is a sixth former at the school, said: “The inspectors will take the latest GCSE results into account – they can clearly see that the school is on an upward trajectory.
“It’s harder now than it used to be to get a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating but that’s a good thing because it shows educational standards are being challenged.
“Our GCSE results were the best among Oxfordshire’s state schools.”