‘Special measures’ Nelson school making progress

St John's Primary
St John's Primary

A Nelson primary school made subject to special measures in November, 2013, is making reasonable progress towards their removal.

Ofsted inspector Mark Williams, who visited St John’s CE Primary School over two days last month, found pupils were making better progress than they did in the past.

He also found gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their peers closing, as were those between pupils with special educational needs, those learning English as an additional language and their peers.

The inspection – the fourth since special measures were brought in – found leaders at the school had identified the need to focus on improving the quality of pupils’ writing, but while spelling, grammar and punctuation continued to improve, targets for writing set for pupils in Years 2 and 6 were unlikely to be met.

“The quality of teaching continues to improve,” said Mr Williams. “Leaders, however, through their honest evaluation of the school’s effectiveness, rightly state the quality is not consistently strong enough to ensure most pupils make good progress.

“Nevertheless, there have been good improvements.

“In the reception class, for example, purposeful learning is now the norm.

“Next steps for children to achieve – a weakness identified in the September, 2014 monitoring inspection – are now sharply focused. Consequently, the progress children are making in their learning and development has taken off.”

Mr Williams said pupils he had spoken with during this monitoring inspection reported how much they valued the support given to them by adults in the school, and found low-level disruption which had been identified when special measures were introduced was not a common feature of the school now.

“The polite, well-behaved pupils observed during this and previous monitoring inspections are more actively engaged in their lessons than in the past. Their attitudes towards learning have improved,” he said.

Mr Williams praised the work of headteacher Mrs Michaela Underwood, saying her typical attributes were openness, honesty and determination and she led by example and did not shirk from making difficult decisions or challenging any under-performance.

It is planned the Trent Road school will become an academy in April.