Headteacher’s ‘disappointment’ over Ofsted report as school again falls short of ‘good’ rating

Date published: 21 July 2020

A headteacher says she is ‘disappointed’ after her school was told it needed to improve despite a largely positive report from the education watchdog.

Sandbrook Community Primary School, in Rochdale, has been rated as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted, despite being deemed ‘good’ in four of the five assessment areas.

While there was praise for the school’s caring approach and the progress pupils made in their personal development, officials ruled that the quality of education fell short.

It means the Hartley Lane school is stuck on the same overall rating as the last time it was inspected nearly three years ago.

Headteacher Katie Charlton said while it was not the outcome the school wanted; she was proud of the achievements recognised in the report.

She said: “Since our last inspection we have worked incredibly hard to improve areas which needed addressing. 

“As a result of this team effort the progress and attainment of so many children has improved over the last the years and we’re really proud to have increased the percentage of pupils achieving age-related expectation in 12 of the 14 main assessment areas.”

She added that because the school had fallen down on one area, it could not be rated as ‘good’ under the new Ofsted framework.

“We are disappointed to still get ‘Requires Improvement’ but I am glad that they recognised caring for pupils and families is at the heart of everything we do,” she said. 

“We will continue to work hard to improve the educational achievement of all our wonderful pupils.”

Youngsters are said to be happy at the school and enjoy the different subjects, particularly history, geography and science.

Reading is said to be the main priority and pupils develop ‘a love of books and reading’.

But the standard of pupil’s reading, writing and mathematics on leaving school has been low in the past, and inspectors said teachers’ expectations were still not high enough.

The report states: “Close to a half of Year 6 pupils in 2019 did not have the reading attainment that they needed in order to be ready for secondary school. These pupils’ skills in mathematics were also not strong enough.”

It adds: “The curriculum has not helped the disadvantaged pupils to catch up with other pupils nationally. There is still some way to go to raise the attainment of all pupils so that it is comparable with the national averages.”

However, it was noted that leaders had now reshaped the curriculum to help pupils to learn more and address the low standards achieved by pupils in the past.

There was also praise for the school’s early years provision, with children in the nursery and reception classes getting ‘off to a good start’, while the curriculum was said to ‘build personal development well’.

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective and leaders were found to have ‘a passion for making sure that all pupils are safe’.

In order to improve to a ‘good’ standard Ofsted says the school should continue to refine its curriculum to help pupils achieve better across all subject areas.

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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