‘Rapid improvements’ at struggling primary school


Senior leaders and governors at a Nelson primary school found to require improvement by Ofsted inspectors in March are taking effective action to tackle the areas identified.

A monitoring inspection carried out by an Ofsted team at St John Southworth RC Primary School at the end of June found the March inspection report was being used well to implement actions to improve the school in the areas identified as requiring improvement.

In his report of the monitoring visit, inspector John Nixon says: “The use of school based information and data relating to pupils’ attainment and progress is improving rapidly.

“Leaders recognise this is only the start of the journey and have appropriate plans to further enhance marking across all subjects to help pupils to make best progress.

“Pupils’ learning behaviours are improving because they are taught how to learn, and not just how to complete tasks.

“Leaders recognise they still have much to learn. However, their commitment to improvement is paying off and their skills and confidence increasing.

“Leaders accept their initial action planning in response to the inspection was not good enough.

“It lacked detail and measurable success criteria. This prohibited governors from effectively checking the pace of improvement.

“However, leaders have acted quickly upon advice and more recent planning is much better. It contains appropriate milestones and measurable expectations that allow governors to check that leaders’ actions and decisions are working.

“Teaching is improving because senior leaders have evaluated teachers’ strengths and subsequently deployed teachers more effectively to make better use of them to increase standards.

“Additionally, the effectiveness of teaching assistants is getting better because of increased training and development.

“Governors are rising to the challenge of improving the school. The standards and effectiveness committee is working well. As a result, members of this group have a clear picture of the school’s strengths and weaknesses.

“They recognise they are now better informed by leaders and are beginning to be more challenging in holding them to account for the impact of their actions.

“However, they must now focus on checking that plans are on track and that deadlines in them are tight enough so as to maintain a rapid pace of improvement.”