The Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee discussed eight recommendations and concerns regarding the School’s performance with the headmistress, Mrs Maggie Haynes.
The Head of School Effectiveness informed the Committee that since an inspection in March 2013 an informal School Improvement Board was established to deal with challenges faced within the school. Among the issues the informal board looked at was the rapid decline in standards achieved at Key Stage 4.
Mrs Haynes, headmistress of Tasker Milward told the Committee:
“Every member of staff has a target. They must reach these targets and know which pupils need help. We are now teaching pupils in groups based on what they find difficult”.
The Head of School Effectiveness also emphasised the need for the school to move quickly to raise standards and noted that the situation was so urgent that there must be real concern with the school’s ability to improve.
Mrs Haynes said: “We have been improving our standards. We made changes to three line departments that we felt were our least strong and found they were led by the same member of staff. They are now being dealt with, though I admit it should have been done earlier”.
The inspection report stated that just over one third of the pupils were achieving five GCSEs grade A to C (including English or Welsh first language and Maths) and that the authority was required to consider all forms of intervention to secure improvement.
Mrs Haynes said: “We are judged against our family of schools. We are working hard to improve and have individual target setting. We are aware that our work was not bearing fruit”.
Cllr Michael James asked Mrs Haynes for her thoughts about the report and she replied:
“I was shocked. We did find that cyber bullying was an issue; therefore we created a ‘Bully Box’ in which pupils can report issues. The pupils are aware that they are there as we’ve discussed them in assembly.
“All students know who to talk to if they have a problem and matters are dealt with”.
Mrs Haynes said:
“Every break and lunch I am on duty. I spend at least one hour walking around popping into classes and I know the majority of the pupils on a first name basis”.
The Committee agreed that it is important to maintain a high level of support and encouragement and all at Tasker Milward School need to work hard to improve.