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Uttoxeter school told to improve by Ofsted inspectors

St Mary's First School

St Mary's First School

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A UTTOXETER first school has become the latest establishment to be told it ‘requires improvement’ after a visit from Ofsted inspectors.

St Mary’s Church of England (A) First School, in The Heath, was given the low rating, which was the same as on the inspectors last visit, after the school was put under the spotlight for the visit on May 14 and 15.

The school was given the requires improvement rating for achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management.

However, the behaviour and safety of pupils was found to be good.

Inspectors told the school the it was not good because there has, ‘until recently’, been too much variation in the quality of teaching and pupils’ rates of progress which has prevented them from achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics, in some lessons the teachers do not check regularly enough how well all the pupils can understand and apply new learning and teachers occasionally do not make clear to more-able pupils what they expect from them or provide them with challenging work.

They also found the school has not made full use of opportunities available to it to work, train and learn from other schools, new middle leaders have not yet developed teaching and learning in their subject areas fully and governors have not acquired all the skills and in-depth understanding of all aspects of the school’s work that they need to enable them to contribute fully to school improvement.

During the visit, the inspectors noted the school’s strengths with most reception children making good progress and the teaching has improved considerably in the last two terms. They also found pupils behaved well and felt safe in school, attendance has risen to above-average levels and the school benefits from some experienced, very capable senior leaders with the head teacher ensuring the pupils are well looked after.

A spokesman for the school’s governing body said: “We are pleased that Ofsted have highlighted the progress we have made since the last report and that they have identified some good teaching in their visit to the school.

“Their report recognised that the majority of pupils here are making good progress.

“We are disappointed that whilst the inspection acknowledged the upward trajectory of the school, the data did not quite meet the current criteria to be good.

“We are very pleased with the good grading of behaviour and safety as this is a priority area - as if children are safe and happy they have a positive environment in which to learn and grow. The Ofsted inspectors noted that ‘Teaching has improved considerably….this is helping to increase pupils progress.’

“The governing body are confident with the new staffing structure and Ofsted noted that ‘The school benefits from some experienced very capable senior and middle leaders.’

“We look forward to working with the new head teacher who starts in September to build on this work.”

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