Harrogate High School ‘requires improvement’, says Ofsted
Last updated Jun 23, 2023
Harrogate High School

Harrogate High School‘s Ofsted rating has been downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’ in a newly released report.

Inspectors said the quality of education had declined and older pupils in particular “do not achieve well in external examinations”.

They also said some parents had raised concerns about pupil behaviour and some students with bad attitudes were “not challenged quickly enough” and some truant pupils were “disrespectful to staff and cause disruption”.

However, the report acknowledges new school leaders understood the problems and their actions “have secured improvements in the quality of education”.

It also says arrangements for safeguarding are effective, staff are well trained and leaders have developed an “ambitious curriculum”, including for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities – and that pupils with additional needs are “well supported in lessons”.

Two-day Ofsted visit

Harrogate High, which was founded in 1973 as Harrogate Granby High School, has more than 700 pupils.  It is part of the Northern Star Academies Trust – a partnership of nine schools across Harrogate, Skipton and Keighley. Ofsted visited the school on April 25 and 26.

The report, which the school has released but has not yet been uploaded onto Ofsted’s website, gave it an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ and awarded the same grade for all four sub-categories assessed: quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management.

The school’s last full inspection was 10 years ago, when it was rated ‘good’ overall. It retained the grading following a short inspection in 2017.

‘Good’ is the second highest of four possible ratings; ‘requires improvement’ is the third highest.

The report says leaders have prioritised improving the curriculum and changed the subjects pupils study at key stage 4 to offer a more broad and balanced curriculum. But it adds “the academic experiences that pupils receive continue to be mixed” and goes on to say:

“Teachers do not consistently check if pupils know or understand what has been taught. As a result, misconceptions are not always identified and addressed. In particular, older pupils, who have not benefited from improvements in the curriculum, do not achieve well in external examinations.”

Ofsted says there is a range of extra-curricular activities but “the wider development of pupils needs to be a sharper focus for leaders”.

It adds:

“Leaders recognise the need to improve behaviour across the school. They are working with external support to implement new systems to tackle poor behaviour.”

The report highlights “there have been many changes in leadership since the last inspection”, which “has led to delays in addressing some of the weaknesses in the school” and although there have been improvements “there is much more work to do”.


‘Exciting time for Harrogate High’

Sukhraj Gill

Responding to the report, headteacher Sukhraj Gill said:

“This is an exciting time for Harrogate High School. Inspectors have recognised the improvements we have already made and confirmed that we are on the right track to make Harrogate High a great school. We have achieved a great deal at Harrogate High School – with a lot more to do.

“We will continue our relentless drive to make Harrogate High the best school it can be for all the young people that we educate.

“We’re especially pleased that inspectors recognised that we provide good support for pupils with additional needs. We value every young person in our school, whatever their needs. Ofsted’s findings are a vindication of our values as a truly inclusive school.”

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Jenn Plews

Jenn Plews, chief executive of Northern Star Academies Trust, said:

“Harrogate High School has made massive strides forward under its new leadership. The Ofsted report is clear: leaders’ actions have improved the quality of education. The fact that the school is full and has been oversubscribed is a testament to the work our school and our trust across Harrogate.

“Inspections are always an opportunity to learn from the inspectors’ feedback and recommendations to help us develop and improve. We welcome this report as a positive contribution to continue Harrogate High School’s continuing journey to become a great school”.