School is making improvements

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ofsted inspectors have said that a Colne primary school has addressed areas for improvement they outlined on an inspection 18 months ago.

The monitoring inspection carried out at Sacred Heart RC Primary School said the school had made “satisfactory” progress in making improvements and “good” progress in demonstrating a better capacity for sustained improvement.

The inspectors’ latest report said: “Pupils’ achievement remains similar to that noted at the last inspection. By age 11, pupils reach broadly average levels of attainment but their progress over time is uneven.

“In the 2011 national tests for 11-year-olds, the results in reading and writing were slightly above the national figure and pupils known to be eligible for free school meals performed as well as their classmates.

“All pupils made the expected two levels progress from Key Stage 1. As a consequence of the better provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage, the proportion of pupils now entering Key Stage 1 having attained a good level of development is in line with the national figure.

“Their early reading and writing skills are particularly well developed. This is an improvement on the position at the time of the last inspection.

“In recent years, the teaching in Years 1 and 2 has not focused sufficiently well on developing pupils’ literacy and mathematics skills and the school’s results in national assessments for seven-year-olds, in 2010 and 2011, were significantly below the national figure.

“The picture in Key Stage 1 is improving, although the focus on early reading and writing is still not sharp enough. Some of the teaching observed during this inspection missed the mark and was too focused on delivering a set lesson rather than tackling the necessary next steps in pupils’ writing or reading.

“The teaching was focused, for example, on meeting one particular objective that was too hard for some pupils and too easy for others.

“Teaching is stronger in Key Stage 2. Pupils find the more creative curriculum, with cross subjects links, engaging. They enjoy their lessons and they know a lot and can discuss in some detail, for example, the phases of the moon, how muscles work and the plight of poor children in Victorian workhouses.

“The quality of the written work in pupils’ books does not reflect their knowledge and understanding; a legacy of weaker teaching in earlier years.

“There has been much work done since the last inspection to strengthen the quality of teaching and improve pupils’ progress. The headteacher undertakes regular lesson observations and the feedback is secure and robust.

“Professional development for teachers and teaching assistants has contributed to lessons becoming more engaging, allowing pupils to develop some independence and teaching assistants have clear roles within lessons. The whole-school assessment system is more embedded and is linked to clearer targets for individual pupils.”