Published: 23/11/2012 09:00

Ofsted say school 'must do better'

Written byBy Jenny Moody

A UTTOXETER school has vowed to improve after education watchdogs ordered it to up its game.

SchoolSt Mary’s CofE First School, in The Heath, has been told it requires improvement after a visit from Ofsted inspectors on October 24 and October 25.

The report found improvements were needed in the achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management.

The inspector said the school was ‘not good’ due to too much variation in the quality of the teaching, in some lessons pupils spent too long listening to lengthy explanations and lost interest, the marking of work does not always provide clear guidance on their next steps in learning and the procedures used by teachers for checking teaching quality do not lead to sharply focused action points for the teachers that would improve their performance.

It added that the link between setting targets for teachers to improve their performance and the further training they need is not close enough to improve teaching fast enough and governors do not gather enough first-hand evidence of the school’s performance so they can take action.

However, the inspectors did find strengths in the teaching of early readings skills which helped pupils become confident readers, good leadership of the Early Years Foundation Stage which ensured the children progressed well and the school had a calm atmosphere and pupils behaved well in the corridors and playground.

It also found pupils were given a good range of additional activities outside lessons, safeguarding arrangements were secure and parents reported their children were kept safe in school and it is good at helping pupils to develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding.

Head teacher Jeni Hammersley said: “Although we are disappointed with this Ofsted, it was set against the tougher inspection criteria, which means we will have to work harder to become a ‘good’ school.

“I am pleased that the report has also identified a number of positives, namely the way we help children to develop good spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding in a calm school atmosphere, the good behaviour of our children in the school and during playtime, and the fact that children feel safe while they are in school.

“Ofsted also noted that the school offers a good Early Years Foundation Stage, and early reading skills are well taught so that children continue to make progress and read for pleasure in KS1 and 2.

“Myself and the rest of the school staff are incredibly ambitious for the school, and it’s good that Ofsted identified how well we work as a team.

“The judgement that we have the ability to continue to improve is testament to our hard work and our determination to make improvements at every step.” Under new Ofsted guidelines, schools are graded from one, which is the highest meaning it is ‘outstanding’ to four which is when a school is ‘inadequate’.

St Mary’s received a grade three which means it ‘requires improvement’.

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