Special measures school makes ‘reasonable progress’


A Nelson primary school which was placed in special measures following an Ofsted inspection in November last year is making reasonable progress towards having them removed.

St John’s CE Primary School was found to have levels of teaching, pupil progress and leadership below the required level – but a monitoring inspection over two days last month found improvements were taking place in all three.

Inspector Mark Williams said in his report: “The quality of teaching continues to improve. Greater stability in staffing and a clear steer from leaders is ensuring consistently higher expectations of pupils.

“Routines are becoming established and pupils increasingly know what is expected of them. In the early years, however, purposeful learning is not a consistent feature. While assessments have been made of children and next steps identified, these steps are not always focused sharply enough on what children are to do.

“This is in contrast to the targets for older pupils, including those with special needs, which increasingly provide adults and pupils with clear ways forward.

“The improved results at Year 1 and Year 2 reported in the previous monitoring inspection are being built on in the Year 2 and 3 classes respectively. Across the school, work in pupils’ books covering the last four weeks of the summer term and the first week of the autumn term show improvements in the standards of spelling, grammar and punctuation.

“Also improving is pupils’ learning in mathematics. This is a direct result of clearer guidance given by leaders to teachers about the sequence of learning so that pupils build on previous knowledge and skills.

“The school’s capacity to improve continues to grow. In the short time the interim executive board has been operational, it has gleaned accurate information from the headteacher in order to have a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development.

“While the increased skills base of the former governing body is no longer in existence, members’ efforts to improve the school were paying dividends. The skills base and expertise of the IEB make it well placed to build on the former governing body’s work to gain the necessary improvements required.

“The headteacher continues to provide clear leadership. Her positive impact on the school was praised by parents who spoke to the inspector during this visit. The growing strength of the wider leadership is driving through the necessary improvements, including better teaching and sharper interventions for pupils needing the most support. These leaders are rightly, as their skills are developing, taking on more responsibility.”