Wellfield taken out of special measures

Head of Wellfield Business and Enterprise College, Piers Tolson
Head of Wellfield Business and Enterprise College, Piers Tolson

Leyland’s Wellfield Business and Enterprise College has been taken out of special measures by Ofsted.

The Yewlands Drive high school was judged ‘inadequate’ by the education watchdog in June last year, and has spent the last 18 months striving to make improvements.

Headteacher Piers Tolson says he is ‘delighted’ with the latest result, but admits there is still a lot of work left to do.

The report, published last week, says the behaviour and safety of students is now ‘good’, whilst the achievement of students, the quality of teaching and the leadership and management of the school all ‘require improvements’.

Mr Tolson said: “I’m obviously delighted that Ofsted has recognised the improvements we’ve made, but there’s always work to be done.

“We want the best for our students, and I’m confident we can improve further. The next step for us is to focus very much on how we can get to ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’.

“I’m really confident things are moving in the right direction, and we can achieve that next year.”

The school has also been looking into the possibility of becoming a sponsored academy over the past year, but Mr Tolson said this is no longer a priority.

“The Department for Education actually put a halt to our academy plans in October,” he said.

“They decided they are not going to pursue us to become a sponsored academy; they feel that the school is capable of surviving on its own.

“We are a small school and we have made quite a big jump on our own to get out of special measures, so I suppose the question is, how much more could becoming an academy help us to make improvements?

“We thought it was the right thing for us, but now we’re not being pushed in that direction, and we’ve shown that we can make improvements ourselves.

“We’ve had support and advice from Lancashire County Council, but it has really been down to us to make these changes.”

He added that local schools were now turning to Wellfield for support, including Lostock Hall Academy Trust, which Ofsted announced it had put into special measures earlier this month.

“It just shows that there is no certainty that becoming an academy means getting a good Ofsted result,” Mr Tolson added.