Nelson primary school ‘improving’, says Ofsted

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OFSTED inspectors say there is an “improving” picture at a Nelson primary school following their inspection last month.

The team which visited Bradley Primary School said there had been “significant staffing turbulence” since the last inspection in October, 2008 and new headteacher Alison Mitchell only took over in September, 2010.

“Pupils’ overall achievement is satisfactory”, says lead inspector Diane Auton. “Pupils are responsive in lessons and apply themselves diligently to their work.

“They are enthusiastic learners, sometimes becoming deeply absorbed in their activities in lessons.

“They listen carefully to instructions, work well with a partner or in a group, discuss and share ideas collaboratively. Pupils working in a writing activity in Year 6, for example, provided constructive criticism and advice for each other, re-drafting their writing in detailed discussion with their partners in the lesson.

“This was clearly helping them to raise the standard of their work. Attainment across the school is below average but is improving rapidly and is now much closer to age-related expectations.

“The good teaching in most classes is enabling pupils to approach more challenging tasks with growing confidence. In the minority of classes where teaching is less effective, however, progress is slower.

“Across the school, pupils’ rate of progress in literacy has started to accelerate. Regular, well-targeted teaching of letters and the sounds they make and well-structured guided reading sessions are giving younger pupils the tools they need to move their learning forward.

“Pupils are using their developing skills to read new or difficult words and they read with interest and enjoyment. Attainment in reading by the end of the Year 2 and Year 6 is now broadly average.

“Evidence from the school’s assessment data, from lesson observations and scrutiny of work in pupils’ books all confirmed progress is at least satisfactory in all year groups, in reading, writing and maths. Pupils with special educational needs and those with disabilities make satisfactory, often good, progress, as a result of the well-targeted support the school provides for them. Overall, the majority of parents and carers’ responses indicated they are happy with their children’s progress and attainment.”

The inspectors say the school should reinforce the ongoing drive to raise attainment and accelerate the rate of pupils’ progress by:

Ensuring through rigorous monitoring the quality of teaching is consistently good or better across the school.

Improving consistency in the quality of marking, so marking always gives pupils clear guidance about the next steps they need to take to improve their work.

Defining precise success criteria in the school development plan, so the impact of actions can be measured accurately to provide an overview of school performance.