OFSTED inspections now provide a "more demanding set of criteria", a school governor has said after a school was downgraded to 'good'.

As previously reported, Testbourne Community School, in Whitchurch, received a 'good' rating after being inspected in November last year.

The report, which was published on Thursday, January 25, sees the school downgraded from its previous 'outstanding' rating which it was given in December 2010.

The latest report said the school was last inspected under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 and judged ‘outstanding’ under a previous inspection framework.

READ MORE: Testbourne Community School downgraded following Ofsted report

From then until November 2020, the school was exempted by law from routine inspection, so there has been a longer gap than usual between graded inspections

Following the report in a letter, made public on the school's website, Steve Martin, chair of governors for the school, said: "As you are aware, the last time the school was inspected was in November 2010. This was an extraordinarily long time between inspections, in part caused by outstanding schools being exempted from inspections for many years. During this period, the inspection framework went through several iterations, each providing a progressively more demanding set of criteria."

It was sent on behalf of the governors and leaders at the school and it continued: "There are fewer than 750 words describing the complex work of our school and inspectors are tied to a very tight template when writing these reports. Leaders, governors and the local authority do, however, get extensive oral feedback throughout the inspection process so we have taken this opportunity to share some of that  detailed feedback here."

The inspector noted areas of improvement for the school including ensuring that the behaviour system is well implemented and encouraging the school to make sure "all staff are able to confidently adapt the curriculum to the needs of individual pupils and check their understanding systematically". 

Teachers at the school received some criticism for "not always" checking on students "learning precisely enough".

The report states: "This means some pupils do not learn as much as they could and therefore do not always achieve highly."

Despite this it was given praise for creating a "calm and purposeful environment" where pupils feel safe and "learn valuable lessons for future life" including experiencing the world of work.

It goes on to state: "The school has carefully crafted a highly ambitious curriculum through which pupils learn a wide range of subjects. Engaging and interesting topics are taught across all areas that ignite a passion for learning."

The report also concludes that students "achieve well at this school" with teachers being knowledgeable about the subjects they teach.

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The headteacher has also been praised in the report being both "strong and dedicated".

The letter continues "Our school has been judged a strong Good in every category and therefore a strong good overall, and we missed achieving Outstanding in some categories by a very small margin indeed. 

"Although there is no specific category of “strong good,” I think you will agree that the report is 
very positive. We are extremely proud of the feedback given to us by inspectors who were full of 
praise for our dedicated and skilled staff and wonderful students. 

"As you can see from the official report and the content of this letter, Testbourne continues to be a very successful school providing a high-quality education for its students. We look forward to 
addressing the two minor points for development identified in the report and in further developing  our provision in an ever-changing landscape over the next few years."

The school was contacted for a statement.