Outcomes for learners are ‘very poor’ at Salford school ahead of academy switch

A special measures college has been criticised by Ofsted for failing to take ‘effective action’ to improve its standards despite languishing well below national averages.

Irlam & Cadishead College was made subject to special measures last February by schools watchdog Ofsted, and two subsequent visits – including one last month – have seen the college stagnate below expectations.

The ‘inadequate’ school, which consists of over 700 pupils aged between 11 and 18, was pulled up on inconsistent levels of staff, as well as poor results and attendance.

In Manchester, 47.4% of pupils hit or exceeded the target of five GCSEs at A*–C last year, while 52.8% managed it across the country.

“The school’s results were unacceptably low in 2015,” inspectors said.

“Only 35% of pupils attained five or more GCSE qualifications at grades A*–C, including English and mathematics.

“The rates of progress made by pupils from their varying starting points were low, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.

“Outcomes for learners in the sixth form were very poor in both academic and vocational subjects.

“Pupils’ attendance was below the national average in 2015 and the proportion of pupils persistently absent from school was higher than that found nationally.”

The school’s sixth form centre, which opted against a 2015 intake and is thus reduced in size, also suffers from poor attendance and outcomes.

Furthermore, inspectors criticised teachers’ planning and their ability to deal with the demands of different groups of pupils.

The report also identified a large turnover of staff, with 14 teachers and eight support staff departing since the last inspection in May, along with the executive headteacher and head of school.

Since being placed in special measures last year under the leadership of former head John Ferguson, the college has cooperated with Salford Academy Trust ahead of its proposed conversion to an academy in April.

Small pockets of staff and students were applauded in the report, but the college as a whole fell short due to a widespread ‘lack of urgency’ to enact change.

Initiatives such as a revamped library and a reading programme have been discontinued, compounding worrying levels of literacy.

Irlam Councillor Roger Jones said: “I warned many local people that the examination results were very poor under Mr Ferguson, and I am glad he left his job when he did.

“I am supportive of the college now that it has a new headteacher and a new chair of the governing body.

“Its involvement with the Salford Academy trust is a good move in my opinion.”

MM offered Irlam & Cadishead College the chance to respond to the report, but received no comment prior to publication.

Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks

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