Nelson primary school told it must improve

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ofsted inspectors who visited a Nelson primary school last month have said it needs to improve.

The team which visited Holy Saviour RC Primary School found that while pupil behaviour and safety was good, improvements were required in pupil achievement, quality of teaching and leadership and management.

At its last inspection, the school was graded “satisfactory” – a marking since replaced with “requires improvement”.

In their report, the inspectors say: “Attainment at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 is broadly average.

“The proportion of pupils making expected and more than expected progress over time is similar to national figures but the progress of pupils currently in school varies widely from one year to another, particularly in writing and maths.

“This is because the quality of teaching is not consistently good.

“At the end of Key Stage 2 attainment in maths is below that in English and, in 2012, the progress made in maths by some groups, including less-able pupils, was below pupils nationally.

“This is because pupils do not learn basic mathematical skills consistently well enough to support them when working out more difficult mathematical problems.

“For example, Year 4 pupils confidently chanted the six and two times tables.

“However, when asked individually to answer ‘two times five equals’ and ‘five times six equals’ they were unable to do so.

“The quality of teaching requires improvement as it is not consistently good or better across the school.

“Teachers are eagerly visiting other schools to observe good and outstanding teaching, engaging in training and implementing new ways of working.

“There are also examples of good teaching within the school that provide models of what to aim for.

“However, these initiatives are too recent to have yet had their full impact on improving standards.

“In some lessons, teachers’ expectations of what pupils can do are not high enough and the work does not challenge all pupils, particularly the more-able.

“For example, during a maths lesson, pupils were measuring ribbons. Many pupils completed the task very quickly and spent time, without further challenge from the teacher, discussing what colour their ribbon should be.

“The new senior leadership team has high ambitions for the school and is introducing a number of new systems intended to drive up standards.

“However, its members are not yet carefully checking how these actions are impacting on pupils’ learning or the quality of teaching and, as a result, they have an overly positive view of the school’s performance.

“Leaders recognise there are issues regarding the progress made by some pupils.

“They have acted quickly to set up systems to identify pupils who require additional support and are making sure staff are trained to meet the needs of these pupils.

“This indicates the school can make further improvements.

“New measures have been introduced for checking the performance of teachers, and progression up the pay-scale is now closely linked to how effective teachers are in their work.”

The inspectors recommend the school should:

Consistently provide work that is sufficiently challenging, particularly for more able pupils.

Make sure pupils always know exactly what they should do during independent activities.

Make sure pupils are able to use their basic skills to solve increasingly complex mathematical problems and there are more opportunities provided for pupils to use their writing and mathematical skills across the curriculum.

Increase the impact of school leaders, including the governing body, by carefully checking that the procedures put in place are helping to raise standards.