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South Witham Primary School headteacher vows to make improvements after Ofsted report


Governors and staff at a primary school said they were “well-placed to improve” after Ofsted inspectors rated the school inadequate - the lowest mark possible.

Inspectors visited South Witham Primary School in December, and the damning report on what they found was released on Wednesday last week.

In the report, the school was given an overall rating of inadequate, receiving the same rating in four of the five categories looked at: effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching learning and assessment; personal development and haviour; and outcomes for pupils. The fifth category of early years provision received a requires improvement rating.

As a result the school requires special measures, “because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school”.

The school will be monitored at short notice by Ofsted inspectors to ensure it is taking the necessary steps to improve. A page of suggested improvements is listed in the nine-page report, which includes monitoring the quality of teaching more closely; allocating more funding to disadvantaged pupils; increasing the focus on English grammar and providing more opportunities to develop maths skills; and having higher expectations of the standard of behaviour.

The report says there should be external reviews to assess how aspects of management can be improved.

But in a statement, staff and governors said they had already “acted very quickly” to address the concerns.

Headteacher Ruth Taylor said: “Although we are disappointed by the decision of the inspector, we were already working on areas where improvement is needed and will continue to address these with vigour.

“Pupil needs continue to be the focus for all staff and we acknowledge that we must ensure they receive the very best teaching and learning at all times.”

Measures the school has already taken include:

l Addressing a decline in the quality of teaching.

l Increasing the challenge from governors to school leaders.

l Improving pupil concentration in lessons.

l Preparing pupils more adequately for life in modern Britain.

Inspectors also noted two strengths, which were that the school encourages pupils to read good quality books and then gives them the opportunity to discuss the books; and that pupils understand how to keep themselves safe.

Mrs Taylor said: “Building on the strengths of the school and with the support and commitment of the governing body and all staff members, we can make quick progress to move forward from this point.”

The school was previously inspected in December 2010 when it was given a rating of good.


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