Ofsted brand FIVE Thurrock primary schools in one week as not good enough

OFSTED has branded two Thurrock primary schools “inadequate”, two: “requires improvement” and another “too accepting of weak teaching.”

The reports refer to Corringham primary, Benyon primary, Purfleet primary, St Joseph’s primary and Harris primary Academy .

All the reports will be a sickening blow not only for the schools but also the Local Education Authority and in particular portfolio holder, cllr Oliver Gerrish. Cllr Gerrish’s ambition is for every school to be either “Good” or “Outstanding”. These damning reports may show how far many of the schools have to travel.

The inspection reports may also explain why former head of Ofsted, Christine Gilbert was parachuted in by the government to dig the local education authority out of its position of third worst performing authority in the country (in relation to primary schools Ofsted reports).

Ofsted usually publish around one report a month. To see so many reports in one week may illustrate how concerned the government are at the overall standard of primary education in Thurrock.

Here is a brief summary of what Ofsted said about each school. YT will be gauging reaction over the next week.

Corringham Primary (Inadequate)

Weaknesses

Pupils make too little progress and standards are low, particularly in writing. Teachers’ assessments show that attainment at the end of Year 2 has been well below average over several years and there is no sign of improvement.

The school has not adequately addressed three areas for improvement from the previous inspection. Attainment in writing remains low, teachers do not set work at the right level for pupils and targets set for pupils with special educational needs are not always shared with their parents and carers.

Assessments at the end of Key Stage 2 fell to well below national averages in 2012 and attainment remains below average for too many pupils.

There are wide gaps in attainment and progress across the whole school between groups of pupils including girls and boys, pupils with special educational needs and disadvantaged pupils.

Teaching has not improved quickly enough to address pupils’ underachievement.

Senior leaders do not have an accurate view of the school’s performance. They do not check the quality of teaching or plan for improvement well enough.

Governors do not hold leaders to account adequately or ensure that arrangements to safeguard pupils’ health and safety are robust.

Strengths

Pupils currently make good progress in reading across Key Stage 2.

Pupils’ social and cultural skills are well promoted in school and through partnerships with other organisations.

Senior leaders do not have an accurate view of the school’s performance. They do not check the quality of teaching or plan for improvement well enough.

Governors do not hold leaders to account adequately or ensure that arrangements to safeguard pupils’ health and safety are robust.

Pupils behave in lessons so that learning proceeds without interruption. Pupils enjoy a range of extra-curricular activities.

Benyon Primary (Inadequate)

Achievement has been inadequate for several years, but it has started to improve following decisive actions taken by the newly appointed leadership team.

Pupils have not made the progress they should and standards in English and mathematics have been low by the time they leave school.

Teaching is improving but it is not consistently good enough to improve pupils’ learning and progress more quickly.

Pupils are not given enough written feedback or time to help them improve their work.

Some teaching lacks pace and the work set does not always demand enough of pupils or inspire their interest. In these lessons, pupils, especially some boys, do not behave as well as they should.

Some teaching lacks pace and the work set does not always demand enough of pupils or inspire their interest. In these lessons, pupils, especially some boys, do not behave as well as they should.

Teaching assistants are not always deployed well to promote good learning in all parts of lessons.

The headteacher and deputy headteacher have an excellent understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. Their clear plans for improvement have already led to improvements in teaching, attendance and the achievement of younger pupils.

Governors give strong support to bringing about further improvement.

Purfleet Primary (Requires Improvement)

Weaknesses

Though improving, pupils are not yet making enough progress in writing and mathematics.

Work in these subjects is not always hard enough for more-able pupils.

Pupils sometimes work at too leisurely a pace.

Though current Year 6 pupils are on track to achieve improved standards, results in national tests at the end of Year 6 have been low in the past.

Despite improvements, there is still too much teaching which requires improvement and not enough that is outstanding.

At times, teachers’ expectations are not high enough and they do not quickly adapt their teaching in response to pupils’ learning during lessons.

Pupils are not always able to focus on the tasks set without adults reminding them about what they should be doing.

When teachers spend too long explaining a task, some pupils lose concentration and become restless and chatty.

Attendance remains below average because a few pupils are away from school too often.

Strengths

The progress of pupils has improved across all year groups. In reading, pupils make good progress. As a result of this improved progress, attainment is now broadly average by the end of Year 6.

Teaching has improved considerably. Senior leaders have done much to tackle inadequate teaching. Hence this is now rare.

The extremely challenging behaviour of a few pupils has been tackled effectively and no longer occurs. Pupils know what good behaviour is and what is expected of them.

The rapid improvements to address significant weaknesses across the school demonstrate the good leadership of senior leaders.

Senior leaders check closely on the quality of teaching, and follow this up with support and training so that teachers increasingly have the skills to deliver good teaching. This, together with improvements in the recruitment of teaching staff, has resulted in a stable teaching staff team. Consequently, pupils feel more secure about the adults who teach them.

Harris Primary Academy

Main findings in follow-up inspection as school received a ‘Requires Improvement’ report recently

The school is making reasonable progress towards becoming a good school. It has a clear action plan to tackle the main weaknesses identified at the last inspection inNovember 2012. The Director of Primary Education for Harris is challenging the school well to ensure the plan covers the main issues that the school needs to improve quickly. Reasonable timescales are set for improvement and there is a strong focus on evaluating the progress made towards improving the quality of teaching rapidly.

Senior staff are willing to drive improvements in teaching. However, they do not set their sights high enough and remain too accepting of weak teaching. They do not routinely check that staff implement the new policies agreed to improve the quality of teaching. For example, in some classrooms the teachers’ spelling and handwriting are incorrect in pupils’ exercise books and on the white board. Not all the phase leaders are building on the support from Harris advisers well enough to improve teaching in their phase of the academy.

The leadership of the school recognises the urgent need for improvement and is keen to raise standards in the quality of teaching. It is supportive of staff. It has started to act on the areas of improvement identified at the last inspection. However, leadership is not yet dynamic or proactive enough in ensuring that all staff make the required changes to improve the quality of teaching. This means that pupils are not yet on track to reach the highest standards or to make the progress of which they are capable.

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