Pendle primary school is rated as ‘inadequate’

St Mary's CE Primary School, Newchurch-in-Pendle (s)
St Mary's CE Primary School, Newchurch-in-Pendle (s)
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A Pendle primary school has been rated “inadequate” by Ofsted three years after an “outstanding” inspection.

St Mary’s CE Primary School in Newchurch-in-Pendle was inspected in mid-September and three of the five main areas of inspection, its effectiveness of leadership and management, its personal development, behaviour and welfare, and early years provision, were all deemed inadequate.

Quality of teaching, learning and assessment and outcomes for pupils were found to require improvement.

Headteacher Pauline Nightingale has said the school in Spenbrook Road, which has 50 pupils, accepts the inspection and is committed to improving.

Lead inspector Tim Vaughan stated in the report that “safeguarding is ineffective because leaders and governors do not understand national requirements for keeping pupils safe”.

He said: “These weaknesses compromise the quality of school leadership, pupils’ welfare and the early years at the school.

“Leaders and governors do not know that the school’s child protection policy is out of date or what changes are required. They have not spotted gaps in the information recorded by the school about the suitability of staff to work with pupils.”

Governors were found to “do too little to challenge the school” and “do not meet their legal responsibility to check arrangements made by leaders to filter and monitor pupils’ access to the internet”.

Progress in maths at key stage 1 and reading at key stage 2 is not “consistently good”, the quality of teaching and pupils’ progress in geography was viewed as “poor”.

The report added: “Teaching requires improvement. Targets set for teachers are not challenging enough to drive standards to the highest possible level.

“In the early years and key stage 1 there are weaknesses in staff’s knowledge of mathematics and in how to stretch the learning of the most able pupils.”

However, the school was praised for its strengths too, notably Mrs Nightingale, who has been in position as headteacher since September having spent a year as acting headteacher.

The report said: “Due to the leadership of the new headteacher, pupils in key stages 1 and 2 have made better progress in their writing, reading and mathematics over the past year.

“Pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities progress well.

“The work of the school strongly promotes pupils’ spiritual and moral education. Pupils are given many opportunities to think and reflect about their own faith and how this shapes their daily lives.”

Mrs Nightingale said: “Whilst we are disappointed with the outcome, we accept the findings of the inspector and have already put actions in place to address the issues identified. We are underway with these and making great progress.

“As the inspector recognised, this is a small school which has been through a period of transition, including my appointment as its new headteacher. We are committed to improving leadership and management of the school and are putting focussed plans in place to ensure that we improve.

“We are already working with the county council’s advisers to develop a long-term improvement action plan with clear timescales. This will help us to ensure that we raise attainment, through increased monitoring of both teaching and pupils’ work.

“The inspector acknowledged some of our improvement so far, in particular the good progress that has been made by pupils already in Key Stage 1 and 2 in reading, writing and mathematics.

“We were pleased that the inspector found many other areas to praise at our school, especially the progress of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, and the effectiveness of the targeted additional support they receive.

“The balanced range of extra-curricular activities that our pupils experience, notably in sport, that enhance their confidence and wider skills was also complimented.

“Pupils respect each other and their behaviour is good. As well as respecting each other, the inspectors found that pupils also respect their classrooms and play areas, and are happy, friendly and caring in school.

“They are encouraged to be sociable and to develop their understanding of right and wrong. Class discussions and assemblies teach them respect of people and cultures.

“We are determined to build on our many strengths, to tackle those areas which need improvement and ensure that our children receive the quality of education that they deserve.”