A LARGE Bradford school is making steps towards improving its "serious weaknesses", but the sixth form is still an issue.

Bradford Girls' Grammar School (BGGS), in Squire Lane, was visited by Ofsted for a monitoring inspection back on December 18 last year, with the report published on January 24.

The school - which has 1088 pupils enrolled - was rated Inadequate in March 2019, having previously been Good four years before that.


One of the areas that needed the most urgent attention was the school's safeguarding policy.

During the monitoring visit, inspector, Dimitris Spiliotis, observed safeguarding records, behaviour information and information around the management of allegations against staff to assess whether improvements had been made.

Leaders and governors have acted quickly and revised the school's policy of managing allegations to ensure it complies with statutory guidance.

The report states: "They took all necessary actions and made appropriate referrals to external agencies.

"Any allegations against staff since the previous inspection have been investigated thoroughly and evidence has been recorded robustly.

"School leaders are now working closely with the local authority, through comprehensive safeguarding reviews, to ensure that systems and procedures follow legal requirements."

A new safeguarding leader (DSL) was appointed in August 2019 as well and, after they surveyed pupils, a number of "safe zones" were introduced.

Students can visit here if they have any concerns and the school also now has an in-house counselling service, in-house mental health support and anger management support for Year 10 and 11.

Since the full inspection there has also been a shake-up of staff.

A new leader of the primary phase was appointed in April 2019, while the vice-principal responsible for teaching and learning left the school in August 2019.

The principal also promoted a number of staff to a wider senior leadership group.

The report states: "Staff work well together and feel well supported by leaders.

"Staff value the training they receive in order to deliver the school’s ambitious curriculum.

"Staff value the way leaders consider their workload and morale is high."

The school's sixth form remains a cause for concern though and the report states "the school is in the final stages of closing the sixth-form provision."

BGGS began a consultation process on October 14, 2019, to discuss shutting down the sixth form.

The proposal document said: "The Department for Education (DfE) advocates that sixth forms with fewer than 250 students are not financially viable.

"Historically, BGGS has never reached those numbers, the highest being in the 2015/16

Academic Year with 135 students.

"In fact, it has never exceeded more than 85 per cent of its 160 capacity since becoming a free school in 2013."

To try combat the low numbers, the Ofsted report states leaders offered a wider choice of subjects to students applying to join the sixth form.

But, the uptake was too small and the curriculum was not broadened.

Sixth form teaching also had issues.

Leaders made strong efforts to improve the application of knowledge and students' evaluation skills.

But, there is still variation in the appropriateness of tasks teachers use to implement the curriculum.

The report states: "Leaders also acknowledge that questioning used by some teachers is not effective in identifying students’ gaps in knowledge."