IT SHOULD, all things being equal, be the flagship primary school in the borough but instead government watchdog Ofsted has told Harris Primary Academy that it requires improvement or risks being put in special measures.
Many had hoped that the school becoming part of the acclaimed Harris Federation would move the school away from its recent troubled history but Ofsted have made it quite plain that there is still much work to do.
The criticisms include:
1. Pupils’ achievement in mathematics is not as good as it should be. The teaching is not making sure that pupils make consistently good progress throughout the academy.
2. Some teachers do not have high enough expectations of pupils’ handwriting or the way in which pupils present their work.
3.Plans to bring about improvements in pupils’ achievements are not clear enough about exactly what is to be done and by when, or how much improvement is expected.
4.Leaders and governors have set phase leaders the task of improving the quality of teaching. However, phase leaders have not been in these roles for long enough to make a big difference.
The reports pin-points the following strengths.
1.The youngest children make good progress in the Nursery and Reception classes.
2.The teaching of early reading skills is good, and is built on successfully throughout the academy.
3.Pupils value and enjoy the many opportunities they have to join clubs and attend out-of-school activities.
4.The pupils behave well and say they feel safe. Behaviour in lessons is good and learning is rarely interrupted.
5.The positive values that the academy promotes result in a very harmonious community where pupils play and work together well.
The report contrasts sharply with the fortunes of the Harris Academy senior school, which is rated as Outstanding by Ofsted and has topped the exam results league for three years in a row.
Local community leaders have pledged their support. South Chafford councillor, Charlie Key said: “We are 100% committed in helping Harris Primary Chafford Hundred achieve the best for its pupils.
“Our job is to help organisations like the Harris Federation do what they do best, and that is raising the standards of education in our community.
“The Chafford Hundred councillors, our local MP and our shadow education portfolio holder are always available to help and visit the Harris Primary however required. We are hands on in our local community, our schools are no exception.
“Harris have only recently began looking after the school. They have a fantastic reputation of turning schools around within two years, many within one year. They are an asset to our community and we will see the results of this soon.”
Thurrock Council has also offered to help.
A spokesperson said: “The council is aware of the Ofsted report – although Ofsted does not send notification of its reports about academy inspections to the council – and is willing to provide support if requested. The school is aware this offer is there.
Thurrock Council’s priority is to see all of its schools as “good” or better in Ofsted terms and support is available from the authority for all schools in the borough – academies or not.
The chair of governors and local councillor, cllr Tunde Ojetola was sent a number of questions but had not answered them at the time of publication.
Full details of the report can be found on www.ofsted.gov.uk
Some people would say the Primary School could be turned around tomorrow by stopping all fun activities, replacing extra-curricular clubs with revision classes, focus solely on Maths and English at the expense of other subjects, create a clinical physical environment and teach just to the test!
‘Outrageous’ I hear you cry, ‘you can’t do that’! Well hello…visit the Secondary School and the annex in Eltham SE9!
The Harris Academy…’qualifications’ (not ‘education’) with nice carpets!