Suffolk headteacher shocked at 'inadequate' Ofsted rating

Thomas Mills High School

Pupils at Thomas Mills High School receive a good quality of education but there are concerns over safeguarding - Credit: Google Maps

A Suffolk headteacher has described his shock at an Ofsted report which rated his previously 'outstanding' Framlingham school as 'inadequate'.

Thomas Mills High School headteacher Philip Hurst wrote to parents at the school saying the report highlighted "so many positives" but that this was not reflected in the overall rating.

The school with academy status, which previously taught superstar singer Ed Sheeran, received a top rating in its last inspection more than a decade ago back in 2010.

Inspectors praised the very good quality of education and said that “pupils show an eagerness to learn", they were also complementary about the teaching and curriculum, commenting that students in the Sixth Form “thrive”.

However, inspectors were not as impressed with the safeguarding records and so the school is judged as having "serious weaknesses".

In response to the inspectors’ findings, Mr Hurst said it is something the school takes "very seriously" and that the school is already implementing an electronic system to replace the largely paper-based one.

Mr Hurst also told parents that the school is compliant with statutory guidance and works effectively with a range of multi-agencies. 

Thomas Mills High School

Philip Hurst, headteacher of Thomas Mills High School - Credit: Thomas Mills High School

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He said: “We are working with a range of partners within education trusts as well as the local authority to ensure that our systems are even more robust.

“We will now be on a rapid improvement journey."

Mr Hurst added: “We will leave no stone unturned in order to move forward from the findings.”   

The report follows criticism of Ofsted inspecting schools whilst they were still dealing with the pandemic.  Six staff were isolating with Covid at the time of the inspection at Thomas MIlls, and currently just under 100 pupils are off school with Covid.

As a result of this judgement inspectors are likely to return to the school in sixth months. 

The school will also focus on personal development within the curriculum and ensure that there is more teaching on ‘difference’.

Mr Hurst  added: “All schools are working on this important area at the moment and there is more that can be done to embed understanding of difference within our teaching.

“We are fortunate in working with a team of excellent staff and trustees who will get on with the important tasks ahead.

“Our school is exceptional and very special and we will use this report to make us even better and re-join the best schools in the country. Our pupils deserve no less.”