OFSTED says it's still concerned about a Hereford secondary school it rated inadequate after finding serious weaknesses.

Revisiting Whitecross Hereford, Ofsted said the school remained inadequate and it had serious weaknesses.

It said that leaders had made progress to improve the school, but more work was necessary for the category of concern to be removed.


Inspectors left Whitecross Hereford with an overall grade of inadequate in February 2022, two lower than the previous rating of good in 2013, because of ineffective safeguarding and the fact the number of pupils being excluded and suspended was high and not falling.

The school, with 949 students aged between 11 and 16, was praised for its curriculum, quality of learning and personal development.

Headteacher Tim Knapp said the school was "shocked and saddened" by the outcome of the Ofsted inspection and it left everyone "devastated by an outcome that does not reflect the hard work of students and staff and the support of our parents and governors".


He blamed a technical matter for the school's inadequate rating, saying it related to pre-employment checks on two volunteer governors.

But in a letter dated January 25, 2023, inspector Bianka Zemke said the head, leaders, staff and governors had acted swiftly to address the issues highlighted since the last inspection, with the improvement plan fit for purpose.

There were still issues with the single central record around staff checks, but staff at the school in Three Elms Road were getting more training and new governors had been recruited to help the school improve.

Want to stay up to date with all the latest news for Herefordshire? It's easy, just sign up for our free daily afternoon news briefing here and the day's top stories will be delivered straight to your inbox.

Ofsted also said that staff knew what procedures to follow if they were worried about a pupil, but it had concerns over some staff not using a new system to electronically sign in and record their attendance at school.

Inspector Bianka Zemke added: "Pupils are confident that there is a trusted adult in school who they could turn to if they were ever worried about anything.

"They speak about feeling safe and demonstrate secure knowledge about how to keep themselves safe in everyday situations.

"For example, they spoke to us about online safety, dangers from criminal exploitation and healthy relationships.

"Pupils told us that staff care for them and make sure they are safe.

"While effective processes and procedures have been introduced to strengthen safeguarding practices, more needs to be done to fully embed these across the school."