St aidans harrogate

Ofsted say St Aidan’s Church of England High School leaders had an ‘overgenerous view of the school’s performance’ in an inadequate rating

13 January 2022

Ofsted undertook an inspection of St Aidan’s in September 2021 and have now released the report.

  • Quality of education – Good
  • Behaviour and attitudes – Good
  • Personal development – Good
  • Leadership and management – Inadequate
  • Sixth-form provision – Good

The inspector raised concern over management aspects of the school.  It spoke well about  a broad curriculum, and SEND support, that the teacher’s made use of.

To read the full report: St-Aidans-Ofsted-Report-2021

Extracts from the Report:

Governor’s had not held the school to account

  • The report said Leaders, including governors and trustees, have an overgenerous view of the school’s performance.
  • Because of this, governors and trustees have not held leaders effectively to account for the impact of their work.
  • Trustees and governors have not assured themselves accurately about the effectiveness of the school’s arrangements to safeguard pupils.

Safeguarding at the school is not effective

  • The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.
  • Leaders have not ensured that rigorous checks are made, as required by statutory guidance, on the suitability of adults to work with pupils. Inspectors identified gaps in the recruitment checks made on staff.
  • Leaders do not undertake appropriate checks on sixth-form work experience providers to ensure their suitability for students
  • Leaders have not checked sufficiently well on staff’s understanding of the safeguarding training they receive.

School Response

The school has decided to hide behind a remote public relations company, and have not agreed to any of our interview requests.

The school provided a press release, which we have included extracts from below.

Chris Ives, Acting Headteacher, said:

Given that the school has not had a full inspection for over 15 years, and that Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework included a recent ‘recalibration’ of Outstanding gradings, both the Trust and the school knew this would be a challenging inspection.

That being said, the inspectors praised many aspects of school life, including the superb behaviour of pupils, the staff expertise, the overall quality of education and the wonderful opportunities available to all our pupils. Thank you and well done to all in our brilliant St. Aidan’s community.

Whilst we all strongly refute the Inadequate judgement, we cannot ignore the concerns that have been raised. As always, we will work to fully explore potential improvements and we always implement advice that will help us continue to provide care that is of the highest level. The Trust and school leaders have also put into place additional external assurance for the areas where inspectors raised serious concerns.


Jo Wicks, Chair of Governors, said:

It would be fair to say that the overall outcome of our inspection is highly unusual, and fills us with a mixture of pride, bitter disappointment and exasperation in equal measures.

This is not the judgement we were expecting, nor is it one that we think fairly represents our school.

We have, and will continue to, take positive steps to try and oppose this judgement, but we are also pragmatic and practical.

We simply do not think it is right to spend significant time and effort on what would be an expensive legal process, and think it is important that the community see the report as soon as we have been permitted to publish it.





  1. I think parents, should take heed of the report and be thankful that ofstead has picked up on the serious safeguarding issues within the school, its about the pupils, and the parents aren’t walking in the pupils shoes at school, St Aidens has always had fabulous academic pass grades, but in today’s world I think more than ever due to the fast pace of life our kids are living and the inability almost to switch off due to technology,fb,Instagram, tictoc, mobile phone, and many more we need to be helping and supporting all pupils not just the chosen few or the individuals who get noticed for what ever there gifts which is amazing but also the individuals who do go unnoticed, who are not as confident, staff should be noting these things, and building there confidence and self worth, and assisting individuals with concerns there’s no use leaving school with several GCSEs and A levels and some pupils not having the confidence to look someone in the eyes, children spend alot of time at school and it should be a happy place, with just as much time and investment put into well being as well as academic education and maybe this hugely important part of teaching has been sadly overlooked, the world has changed from when I was at school and is constantly changing and in this world the young ones from primary to secondary to college to university if they go need support in well being as much as academic its a tall order but is needed for children to thrive in this day and age we are in. take it on the chin St Aidens use this as a possive, instead of bleating on about legalitys shurly there’s a negative or dismissive life lesson for the kids in the way you have delt with this situation say no more

  2. I think the way that St Aidens has taken the news of the ofstead rating recently, says in all, bleeting on about legalitys and how costly it would be to dispute the rating is just awful, what a message to send out to the pupils of the school, there are clearly safeguarding issues among other issue’s and the rating given by ofstead is the bottom rating, ofstead would not give a rating like this for no reasons, the statements given in the press by the schools governor, is dismissive and quite frankly an insult to the governing body that is there to try and keep the pupils in that school safe the school has shown little class in the way it has reacted and should have taken this rating for what it is and delt with it for the good of its pupils

    • It’s almost as if someone had given Ofsted information that led them to believe they should do a thorough inspection, hence why they took her majesty’s inspectors with them. And Jo Wicks should know better since I believe those concerns were raised with her first… I hope that didn’t sound too specific

  3. Harrogate schools – Aidan’s, Grammar, Rossett – have had horrendous issues with bullying since at least the 90’s and it’s about time school leaders were held to account for their failure to adequately ensure pupils’ safety and well-being. Staff are often arrogant and wouldn’t last a week in your average comprehensive where students don’t come from leafy upper-middle-class backgrounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.



Go toTop