Previously ‘good’ school told it must improve quality of education – and keep tackling ‘stubbornly high’ absence rates
Date published: 13 February 2020
Photo: Google, DigitalGlobe
Broadfield Community Primary School
A school previously rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted has been told it must improve the quality of education it offers.
The watchdog has also urged Broadfield Community Primary School, in Rochdale, to keep tackling ‘stubbornly high’ levels of pupil absence following a recent inspection.
The Sparrow Hill school was rated as ‘good’ in all but one of Ofsted’s six assessment categories, and was praised for the ‘strong and supportive’ relationships between staff and pupils.
But, despite this, many pupils were still found to ‘struggle to achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics’ – meaning the school’s overall rating has now dropped to ‘requires improvement’.
Officials say that – while there have been recent improvements – pupils developed gaps in their learning under a previous curriculum, contributing to ‘weak achievement’ by the time they left for secondary school.
The inspection report states: “Leaders need to ensure that the curriculum plans are delivered consistently well so that all pupils, particularly those who join part way through the school year, know more and remember more in a range of subjects.”
The teaching of phonics – where children learn the sounds made by individual letters or letter groups – was also said not to be ‘securely embedded’ across the school.
The report adds: “The books that children and pupils read in school are not well matched to the sounds that they are learning. Leaders need to revisit the recent changes to the phonics curriculum and ensure that reading resources are well matched to pupils’ needs.
“They also need to make sure that those pupils who fall behind are given the help that they need to catch up. This will enable pupils to practise the sounds that they are taught and to read with greater fluency and accuracy.”
Attendance is also highlighted as a long-running problem by Ofsted officials.
The report states: “Despite the consistent and concerted efforts of leaders and the well-being team, the proportion of pupils who are persistently absent from school remains stubbornly high.
“This has a negative impact on pupils’ learning and achievement. Leaders must continue to reduce persistent absenteeism to give these pupils the best possible chance in life.”
Responding to the findings, headteacher Rachel D’Ardis said: “Although the overall rating is disappointing, we must not take away from the many positive aspects of the report.
“It acknowledges the unique context of our school and we are delighted to see that the progress we are making is being recognised.
“Inspectors clearly saw that all my staff are passionate about helping children be the best they can be.
“We are aware that we still have work to do but Ofsted saw a strength and passion in leadership so we’re confident in our ability to deliver the changes we want to.”
Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter
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