Brierfield school in ‘special measures’ is improving

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A MONITORING inspection at a Pendle primary school which became subject to special measures 12 months ago has found it is making satisfactory progress.

Education inspector Ruth James spent two days at Walter Street Primary School, Brierfield, last month for the second inspection since special measures were introduced.

In November last year, the school was asked to improve the quality of teaching and assessment, the quality of the curriculum and the leadership and management of the school.

In her latest report, the inspector says progress since being subject to special measures and the previous monitoring inspection have both been satisfactory.

“Unvalidated Key Stage 2 national test results showed an improvement on the previous year. The proportion of pupils achieving the expected level for their age in both English and mathematics rose, but the target set by the school was not met,” she stated.

“Pupils’ performance improved slightly at the expected level in reading, but fell slightly in writing when compared with the previous year. Pupils’ performance at the higher level improved in writing. In reading and mathematics the proportions reaching higher levels were similar to the previous year. One pupil gained a Level 6 in mathematics.

“Overall rates of progress during Key Stage 2 were above average, but because of pupils’ low starting points the standards of attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 remain well below the national average.

“Pupils with special educational needs made slightly slower progress than other pupils.

“Standards were particularly low for those pupils known to be eligible for additional government funding via the pupil premium.

“Overall standards of attainment at the end of Key Stage 1 in 2012 were similar to the previous year. The proportion of pupils reaching the expected level in writing improved and a very small proportion reached the higher level.

“In reading there was a rise in pupils gaining the higher level but the percentage gaining the expected level fell. Standards in mathematics were lower than the previous year. Boys’ performance was poorer than girls’. Pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium did better than other pupils, especially in writing.

“The school’s own assessment data show a generally improving picture in terms of standards of attainment but rates of progress are not rapid enough to ensure that the legacy of low attainment is eradicated. For example, in 2012 about one third of pupils in Year 5 did not reach the individual targets set for the end of the year in reading and writing, partly because of underachievement in previous years. The school also identified weaknesses in progress and attainment in writing in Year 4.

“The quality of teaching is improving and no inadequate teaching was seen. Expectations of pupils’ capabilities are higher and this is more widely evident in the range of activities pupils undertake. The planning of work to suit pupils of different abilities is improving and more challenge is being provided for more-able pupils, although some inconsistencies remain.”