Must do better: Notre Dame school for girls is falling short, report says

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

A former ‘outstanding’ girls’ school not inspected for more than 10 years has been told it needs to improve by the teaching watchdog.

Ofsted described the quality of education at Notre Dame Catholic Girls’ School in St George’s Road, Elephant and Castle as ‘not strong’ in a report published on Tuesday last week.

Guidance for teachers isn’t always clear, while the curriculum isn’t taught ‘consistently well’ across subjects, inspectors said. Ofsted also said classes were sometimes disrupted due to bad behaviour. The inspection was the school’s first since it converted to an academy at the end of 2022.

Notre Dame Catholic Girls’ School had previously consistently been given the highest grade by Ofsted. A report produced following the latest inspection in March noted that the school had been through ‘a period of turbulence’ since January 2023, shortly after it converted to an academy.

While inspectors noted the school was now ‘more stable’, they said that positive changes made, such as to the curriculum, were ‘not fully embedded’.

The report said: “Some staff use their expertise well to design suitable learning activities for pupils. Nevertheless, the school does not always provide clear guidance. This means that teachers do not always ensure that learning activities are effective.

It added: “The curriculum is not taught consistently well across all subjects. Sometimes teaching does not check if pupils have understood earlier content carefully enough.”

Inspectors also noted that until recently reading hadn’t been prioritised enough at the school.

The report continued: “During lessons, most pupils listen attentively to their teachers and follow instructions. However, there is sometimes disruption to learning.”

Notre Dame Catholic Girls’ School, which is part of The South East London Catholic Academy Trust, teaches 521 girls aged between 11 and 16.

A school spokesman said: “Ofsted inspectors acknowledged the prolonged period of upheaval due to significant changes at the school, but acknowledged and praised recent improvements, particularly in terms of the curriculum, reading and student behaviour.

“The senior leadership team and South East London Catholic Academy Trust are confident that the priorities set by inspectors are achievable as significant progress has been made in key areas of school life.”

Pictured top: Notre Dame School (Picture: Google Street View)

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