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Ofsted inspectors downgrade St Andrew’s CofE School after recent visit
A WEYMOUTH school has been downgraded by inspectors amid concerns over the quality of its teaching, achievement of pupils and leadership.
Inspectors who recently visited St Andrew’s CofE School in Preston found that it now ‘requires improvement’ – the second lowest category in Ofsted ratings.
The Littlemoor Road school’s previous inspection, in September 2010, resulted in a ‘good’ verdict.
The headteacher said she was disappointed by the report and a plan was in place to address the issues raised.
Three areas were highlighted as needing improvement – achievement of pupils, quality of teaching especially in Years 3 to 6, and leadership and management.
The behaviour and safety of pupils was judged to be good.
Inspectors said the school lacks ‘consistently good’ teaching and lesson activities do not emphasise what pupils should learn.
After observing 17 lessons, inspectors wrote: “There are too few opportunities for them to work independently in ways that will consolidate their learning.
“The monitoring of teaching does not sufficiently focus on the quality of pupils’ learning.”
Inspectors also found that younger pupils did not acquire phonics skills quickly enough, expectations of what Year 3 and Year 6 pupils should achieve in maths were too low and progress in maths was ‘inadequate’.
“Leadership and management require improvement because neither teaching nor pupils’ achievement are good,” the report said.
School leaders’ response to emerging weaknesses in maths and phonics has been too slow and staff are still developing skills at using information from a new system to track progress to identify weaknesses swiftly, the report said.
The school was praised for pupils’ achievements in English, especially in writing.
“Pupils enjoy school, have positive attitudes to learning, feel safe and behave well,” the report said.
Also assessed as strengths were pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, a ‘strong’ governing body and changes in senior and subject leadership.
The report noted that there have been a ‘considerable’ number of staff changes and ‘lengthy’ absences over the past two years and the proportion of pupils with special educational needs is above the national average.
Headteacher Vanessa Lucas said: “We are disappointed that St Andrew’s requires improvement but there is already an action plan in place and the impact of this is very positive.
“Staff and governors have already begun to make a number of improvements including lessons that focus even more on learning, revised programmes for mathematics and phonics as well as arranging timetables to free up more teaching time in the mornings.
“With the support of Dorset County Council, the school is working hard to raise the consistency of teaching and learning, improve the quality of the leadership and management and raise pupils’ achievement in phonics and maths.”
Mrs Lucas said parents have been ‘very supportive’ following the inspection She added: “We haven’t heard any concerns from parents. They are being very supportive.
“We’ve were completely honest with them before the report went out. Because we communicate well they consider there’s an awful lot of strength in the school.”
Mrs Lucas said the school’s aim was for all the improvements to be in place before the pupils take their SATs in the summer.
Changes to the way Ofsted inspects schools came into play on September 1 last year.
Before the changes, inspectors could judge schools to be ‘inadequate’, ‘satisfactory’, ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. In the new framework, the satisfactory grade has become "requires improvement”, while the other categories remain the same.
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