Second Nelson school battles to get out of special measures

Castercliff Community Primary School which has been deemed by Ofsted to be inadequate
Castercliff Community Primary School which has been deemed by Ofsted to be inadequate

Ofsted inspectors have found a second Nelson primary school is making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures.

Last week, we reported inspectors who visited St John’s CE Primary School had found improvements were being made.

And now a report into an Ofsted visit to Castercliff Community Primary School says similar progress is being made there.

The inspection, which took place over two days last month, was the second since the Marsden Hall Road North school was made subject to special measures in May.

In his report, lead inspector David Selby said pupils made steady progress in their lessons.

“Teachers express determination to help pupils achieve as well as possible,” he said. “Staff have been helped to do this as a result of the training they have received from local authority consultants.

“Leaders and staff are developing the confidence and openness to share practice in the school to improve teaching further.

“Better tracking of pupil achievement means teachers are more aware of when pupils are at risk of falling behind.”

Mr Selby said leadership in the school had been strengthened as the roles and responsibilities of senior leaders had been made clear.

Parents spoken to by inspectors expressed confidence in the school and the staff.

However, there was a cautious air to part of Mr Selby’s report.

He said while there were early signs achievement had started to rise, this was not yet fast enough to close the deficits that had developed over time nor to ensure the continuing low achievement seen for many pupils in 2014 is not repeated this year.

Standards in English reached by Year 2 pupils were well below the national average, while those in maths were on the same level as national figures.

Mr Selby said: “The school’s data on achievement in the first term of the school year show that, unless learning becomes faster, pupils will continue to fall further behind.

“However, teachers have planned additional teaching in English and maths for older pupils and put in place carefully targeted teaching of letters and sounds for younger pupils to help pupils of all ages reach much higher standards.

“It is essential nothing less than these higher standards are accepted.”

In his report, Mr Selby said Castercliff could not appoint any newly-qualified teachers until after the next monitoring inspection has taken place.