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Previously good school ‘requires improvement’

Date published: 08 November 2018


A primary school school previously rated as ‘good’ has been told it needs to improve by the government’s education watchdog.

Ofsted says that the behaviour and achievement levels of pupils at Little Heaton CE Primary School, in Middleton, began to drop after its last inspection more than four years ago.

Inspectors found that the school – which appointed Joyce-Louise Hulme as its new headteacher in January – had ‘begun to address the underlying issues that led to the deterioration of the school.’

But while recently introduced measures are said to be having a ‘considerable impact’ on the standard of education,  the school still ‘requires improvement’ in all areas, bar-early years provision.

A report adds: “Teachers are working together to plan a curriculum that helps pupils progress from year to year and are also sharing the good practice that exists in the school.

“However, leaders of subjects and teachers lack the skills required to accurately evaluate the impact of their work on pupils’ learning.”

Children at the Boardman Road school are said to be ‘catching up’ with their basic knowledge and skills, read well and have a good understanding of mathematics.

But writing skills are not improving as quickly and inspectors found that the ‘rising expectations’ that teachers have for English and maths are not reflected in other subjects.

The report adds: “There is a variation in the quality of teaching across the school which affects the progress of pupils in different classes.”

The behaviour of some children is also highlighted as a cause for concern in the report.

It says: “Too often these pupils, mainly boys, let their attention drift in lessons. They become detached from their learning and this can lead to low-level disruption to the learning of those around them.

“Some take too long to settle when asked to do so by a teacher, showing disrespect. This disengagement of a small, but significant, minority of pupils is reflected in the quality of the work they produce.”

It was also found that children who have special educational needs or disabilities, and pupils who are disadvantaged, do not progress as well as other pupils in the school.

However, the report added that the gap, while ‘substantial’, is diminishing.

The school’s early years provision, however, was rated as good, and it was also noted that this has been the case for ‘many years’.

And there was further praise for the school’s ‘caring ethos’ which inspectors described as a long-standing and high-quality feature’. And pupils were said to be ‘well looked after, happy and safe’.

A spokesman for the the school said: “We are taking on the recommendations set out in the report. We have a relatively new head, deputy head and governing board, all of which are making great improvements, as Ofsted acknowledges.

“We hope that this will mean that any future inspections will see the continued hard work and improvements reflected. Parents can be confident that we work hard to provide the best outcomes for our pupils.”

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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