COUNCIL chiefs have moved to reassure parents about teaching standards in the town’s special schools after all four were given low scores in new league tables.
The Willows, Kelford, Abbey and Newman schools were all given a negative Progress 8 rating — the new measure for how children progress during their time at secondary school, each scoring between -1.29 and -1.61.
But deputy leader for Rotherham Borough Council, Cllr Gordon Watson, said this was affected by the differences between special and mainstream schools.
Cllr Watson (pictured), who is also the council’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “There is no national assessment framework for students in special schools in terms of attainment and progress measures because their individual educational needs are so varied.
“A relatively small number of students in special schools, both locally and nationally, will be entered to take GCSE examinations.
“That is why the percentage figures for special schools are so low, not just here in Rotherham but across the country.
“However, special schools are subject to the same inspection framework as mainstream schools.
“As such, they have to demonstrate to visiting inspectors that their students are achieving well and making good progress from their differing starting points and in relation to the complexity and severity of their individual special educational or disability need.
“We have six special schools here in Rotherham — five were judged as ‘good’ at their most recent Ofsted inspection and one was judged as ‘outstanding’.”
Wickersley School and Sports College was the borough’s top rated school, with a 0.57 score, closely followed by Wingfield Academy with 0.42.
Winterhill School and Aston Academy were both rated as above average, while an average rating was given to Brinsworth Academy, Clifton Community School, Wath Comprehensive, Maltby Academy, St Bernard's Catholic High School, Wales High School, Oakwood High School and Rawmarsh Community School.
St Pius X High School, Dinnington High School and Thrybergh Academy were all assessed as below average.