A SCHOOL that was slammed by Ofsted last year has received another damning report from inspectors.

The Lilford Centre, in Tyldesley, was given an ‘Inadequate’ rating following a visit by the school’s watchdog in July 2022.

However, it has now been criticised again over its quality of education and management. 

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The latest inspection in April 2023 found that a number of pupils at the Tyldesley site had been absent for long periods of time and were not properly checked up on.

In the recent report, published on June 15, the privately run school was credited with correctly addressing this issue.

Despite this positive step in terms of student safety and welfare, the curriculum and management were still not up to scratch, Ofsted believes.

'Pupils do not achieve well'

“During this inspection (undertaken on April 19), it was evident that leaders have not demonstrated the urgency required to address the significant weaknesses identified in the previous standard inspection,” the Ofsted report said.

“While leaders ensure that pupils study a broader range of subjects, the curriculum is underdeveloped and ineffective. 

“Lessons are not well planned and resources are not appropriately used to aid pupils’ learning. Teachers do not have the required subject expertise. 

“Leaders do not ensure that pupils benefit from effective support during lessons or from a suitably ambitious curriculum. Pupils do not achieve well. 

“There is a lack of support for pupils to develop their reading knowledge.”

'Pupils not sufficiently protected from potential risk of harm'

Inspectors added that the leaders’ lack of oversight in relation to safeguarding meant that ‘some pupils were not sufficiently protected from the potential risk of harm’. Additionally, leaders were told that their action plan contained a timescale that was unrealistic for getting the necessary improvements. 

Overall, the school was found not to have met all of the independent school standards that were checked during this inspection. 

This is one of two Progress Schools in the Wigan borough, which is a nationally based, alternative education provider with numerous independent secondary schools located throughout England.

New Head of School hoped to bring improvements

Leigh Journal: Managing Director at Progress Schools, Charlotte BartonManaging Director at Progress Schools, Charlotte Barton (Image: Progress Schools)

Reacting to the recent Ofsted visit, Charlotte Barton, Managing Director of Progress Schools, said: “The monitoring visit which was carried out in April 2023 found that we had made notable improvements in some areas, namely Part 1. 2(2) and Part 3. 7 of the Independent School Standards.

"The report recognised on several occasions the action plan that had been put in place following the initial visit in July 2022, with some areas not being as advanced as we would have hoped. 

“The report also references the changes to staffing that we, like the rest of the sector, have been experiencing. The ongoing challenge to recruit and retain high-quality teaching staff is an issue across the sector but is exacerbated in alternative provision where colleagues are working with young people who have more complex emotional and behavioural needs than those in mainstream schools. 

“This is just one reason why we have recently launched our trail-blazing ‘In My Shoes’ campaign which is drawing back the curtain and exposing the challenges of the sector to government officials.

"The increased levels of complex need we are seeing, coupled with ever stretched Local Authority budgets is placing an unimaginable toll on those working in the sector, and we, like maintained schools, have watched professionals exit the sector because the pressures are too great. 

“This has subsequently slowed our efforts down as we have had to recruit and onboard new colleagues who are key for helping us drive our action plan forward. I welcome Ofsted’s feedback and I am glad that they have recognised the efforts we have been making to deliver the quality of education that we expect from ourselves.

“Whilst we recognise there is still more work to be done, I am confident that with the new Head of School (who joined the week of this monitoring visit), that we will continue to implement the improvements that we want to make at our Lilford site, and that this will be further recognised by Ofsted during their next visit.”