Could do better! One in 10 Dacorum schools are under-performing

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One in 10 Dacorum schools are under-performing according to education watchdog Ofsted – but Herts is among the UK’s better-performing counties.

Figures show 13 schools in the borough are ‘Outstanding’, 50 are ‘Good’ and seven are graded as ‘Requires Improvement’.

Scott Martin, headteacher at Hemel Hempstead's Adeyfield School

Scott Martin, headteacher at Hemel Hempstead's Adeyfield School

There are no Outstanding secondary schools but there are no schools which are graded as Inadequate – the lowest of the four ratings.

Bridgewater School in Berkhamsted remains at ‘Requires Improvement’ but claims because it was a new school for the 2014 inspection, it could not make “sufficient impact”.

A spokesman for the school said: “The school has been judged to be making good progress against the leadership and teaching and learning objectives in the Ofsted report.

“In July, a local authority review noted the very significant difference in the school’s leadership and teaching and learning objectives in the Ofsted report.”

In Hemel Hempstead, The Cavendish School and Adeyfield School remain at ‘Requires Improvement’.

Scott Martin, headteacher of Adeyfield, said he was pleased to receive positive feedback after a recent monitoring inspection.

But he claimed that Ofsted guidelines can be a distraction from a school’s primary aim of educating pupils.

He said: “My general view is that it’s extremely difficult to take schools which are in a variety of contexts and apply one set of criteria.

“If you were to say Ofsted didn’t exist anymore, I don’t think there’s a headteacher anywhere who would say they’d be unhappy about it.”

Mr Martin added that in his five years as a headteacher, there have been ‘11 or 12 different Ofsted frameworks’.

“At its best, Ofsted is a process which is looking to improve schools,” he said.

“At its worst, it can be a distraction from providing an education for young people. I think it falls between these two.

“I would be concerned if Ofsted was the driving force behind decisions at schools.”

Across Herts, 90.5 per cent of schools are now rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ compared to a national average of 88 per cent.

David Williams, cabinet member for education at Herts County Council, said: “We already had some of the best education facilities in the UK, so to hit this figure is an excellent achievement and testament to the hard work of school leaders, teachers and governing bodies.”

To celebrate passing the 90 per cent mark, the council has launched #HertsGreatSchools Week.

Pupils and teachers are being encouraged to take part by entering a short film, photo or statement explaining why their school is amazing.

For more information, visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/greatschools