School is improving - but more needs to be done

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A Nelson primary school which was found to be “inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors in 2013 has made improvements - but still needs to do more, a new inspection has found.

St John’s CE Primary School, which was placed in special measures, had previously been graded as “satisfactory” in 2012, and has now been restored to the same level - now termed as requiring improvement - following its latest inspection last month.

The team which visited the Trent Road school said in its report that the quality of teaching, while improving, was inconsistent.

As a result, they said, not all pupils made routinely good progress in their learning to reach the standards of which they are capable.

“Not all teachers follow the school’s own policy for marking and feedback. Even though comments to

help pupils improve are often helpful, teachers do not routinely check to ensure pupils’ responses

are correct. On occasions, some errors made by pupils go unchecked,” the team said.

However, the team said the “calm determination” of headteacher Michaela Underwood, supported ably by her senior leadership team, had brought about good improvements in the quality of teaching and the achievement of pupils.

“The good capacity to improve is also the result of more effective middle leaders. Subject leaders, for

example, have an increasingly strong view of teaching and learning quality in their subjects,” the report said.

“Members of the Interim Executive Board, like the governing body before them, have held leaders to account well throughout the time the school has been in special measures.

“Pupils are making better rates of progress than they did at the time of the previous inspection. Gaps

between disadvantaged pupils and their peers are narrowing. These better all-round outcomes are the result of improved teaching quality.

“Pupils who have special educational needs and those for whom English is an additional language

receive good support and achieve well from their different starting points.

“Also improved is the behaviour of pupils. They display good attitudes to learning, are smart in their appearance and are polite. Their attendance is above average. Good systems are in place to keep pupils safe.

“The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is promoted well. Themes such as ‘community’ help them to understand British values and put them into practice.”