Travellers Blamed for Low Standards

AN OCKENDON school praised for making significant progress was told by Ofsted that absentee travellers are dragging the school down.

In a recent report, Benyon Primary was highly praised for its” “radical reforms”, “inspiring and energetic headteacher” and creating an atmosphere where: “Pupils…spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good.”

But the government watchdog stated that much of the progress was being checked by the absenteeism of traveller students.

The report said: ” There is strong evidence that pupils’ progress over the last year and particularly during the current term has improved sharply.

“However, it is early days and pupils’ attainment remains below average and their achievement satisfactory in relation to their starting points.

“Despite the school’s considerable efforts, low attendance rates at the school are a significant impediment to raising attainment as this disrupts pupils’ learning and progress.

“The progress made by some traveller pupils is slower than the large majority of other pupils and groups represented across the school.

“This is because the attendance of some travelling show people pupils is less than that of other pupils and this disrupts their learning and progress over time, particularly in the core skills of English and mathematics.”

Headteacher Amanda Scamp declined to comment.

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