Bury St Edmunds: Headteacher of St Benedict’s Catholic School says they are planning to “win back” outstanding rating

Hugh O'Neill is pictured at St Benedicts School in Bury following league table results

Hugh O'Neill is pictured at St Benedicts School in Bury following league table results

A school has blamed the GCSE English fiasco for it losing its “outstanding” Ofsted rating.

St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds hosted a team of Ofsted inspectors last month.

The school was rated as “good” in all areas, with many excellent features.

Headteacher Hugh O’Neill said, “We are obviously a bit disappointed that we are no longer rated outstanding, but that was not unexpected.

“We received our outstanding grade in 2008 under a different inspection framework.

“When our outstanding status was confirmed in 2011, it was made clear that we would be re-inspected only if there was a significant change in our results.

“We know that our GCSE results in 2012 were much lower than usual, largely because of the GCSE English issues.

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“We went from being the top school in Suffolk for both GCSE and A-Level in 2011 to the top school for A-Level in 2012, but not for GCSE. That has cost us our outstanding rating. We accept this.

“The new Ofsted framework has already dropped the vast majority of schools down a grade compared to their previous rating.

“The Government are keen to make outstanding a very exclusive grade, and one year of lower results at GCSE has been enough to lose us that exclusive status.

“We know that, if we had been inspected a year ago, we might have kept our outstanding grade. We remain as committed as ever to excellence for all our students.

“We are enormously grateful for the level of parental support through very troubled times that has kept us over-subscribed for yet another year.

“We are also at the brink of a huge change for the school as we admit our first ever year seven students in September 2013.

“We are already planning how to win back our outstanding status. As a school that has always sought to improve, we now have a new challenge.

“Parents and students have many ways of deciding the merits of the school that they choose, and we are confident that, here at St Benedict’s, we will continue to offer an excellent education for all.”