HEADTEACHERS have rallied together to defend a school placed in special measures after a damning Ofsted report.

St George’s CofE School in Gravesend was given the lowest possible rating by inspectors in the report published earlier this month, which measured the school’s quality and capability of improvement.

However, Gravesham Learning, the association of headteachers in the borough, has joined the secondary school’s board in slamming the report as “unjust”.

A spokesman said: “It is ironic that the overall results at St George’s last year were the best the school has ever had.

“This outstanding achievement, however, was not given enough weight as part of a three year trend of results.  “Of the high schools in Kent, St George’s is ranked 19th among 68 high schools in the recently published league tables.

“Students achieve in line with, or better than, expectations of students with similar ability.”

The spokesman also criticised Ofsted for measuring the school in Meadow Road against grammar schools in the area, which select their students based on academic achievement.

He said: “It is most unjust to use a national framework to judge schools in Gravesend, where the educational provision is so diverse.

“In an area where there are successful selective schools, it is unfair to expect non-selective schools to reach the same targets as in areas where all schools are comprehensive.

“There is, in Gravesham, a very strong recent history of schools working together for the benefit of all students in the area.

“To saddle an individual school with a negative judgement is not helpful given the context of Gravesham.”

In a letter sent to parents after the report was published, chairman of the school’s board of governors the Rev Joe King said Ofsted had judged it unfairly.

He pointed out that last month an SIAS inspection by the Rochester Diocese had found the school to be good and improving.

Mr King said: “The Governors were completely taken aback by the Ofsted report. Neither the Diocese, nor the local authority were expecting such a report.”

He also pointed out that the school had experienced a difficult last two years, during which the headteacher left suddenly following the death of her husband.

Anne Southgate became new headteacher in January last year, and the school has been improving since then, he said.

Kent County Council’s area education officer Simon Webb has also criticised the Ofsted report.

He says St George’s was one of the first schools to be inspected by Ofsted under a new framework brought in last September, which focuses on vulnerable teachers and children.

He says the inspectors “didn’t focus equally on the outstanding and good teaching” and “spent most of their time with the vulnerable teachers”.