Ofsted highlight staff absence as bar to progress at St Joseph’s primary

ST JOSEPH’S primary school in Stanford-le-Hope has received another critical report from Ofsted and highlighted the number of staff absences in its report.

The report said:

“Since the section 5 inspection, one teacher has left the school and a temporary teacher covers the vacancy.

Another teacher is on long-term sick leave and a temporary teacher is teaching the class. The headteacher is on sick leave and the deputy is acting as the headteacher. Five teachers have resigned and will be leaving at the end of the summer term. Governors have appointed one teacher to begin at the end of the summer term and the school is currently recruiting to fill the other posts.

Main findings

The acting headteacher is monitoring teaching and learning more rigorously and using a range of evidence to gain a view of teaching over time. This includes evidence from lesson observations, pupils’ progress data and evidence from the scrutiny of pupils’ work. This is an appropriate approach to ensure that teachers are held to account for the progress of all pupils. However sometimes judgements about the quality of teaching in lesson observations are too generous when pupils’ progress is not given a high enough priority.

Most classrooms are well-ordered environments where attitudes to learning are positive. There have been some improvements to the Reception indoor and outdoor learning areas. More needs to be done however to ensure that all Reception children have equal access to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. This is not yet the case for those children who are working in the Year 1 and Reception classroom.

The governing body is more rigorously monitoring and challenging the work of the school. Governors have a thorough knowledge of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. They have a better understanding of the impact of pupil premium funding and the pay structure of teachers, which they compare with the good information they receive about the quality of teaching.

Senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement identified at the recent section 5 inspection. The school should take further action to:

1. Ensure that leaders’ evaluations of the quality of teaching take full account of the progress pupils make during lessons and that this takes in the highest priority in making judgements ensure that all Reception children have equal access to the Early Years

2. The local authority is providing good support to the school to improve teaching and leadership. The school improvement manager is co-ordinating a high level of support that is beginning to have a positive impact. Improvement consultants visit regularly to help develop the improvement plans and provide training for governors to understand their role in monitoring the plans.

A member of the improving schools team has been working in the school since May, coaching members of staff to improve teaching and supporting middle leaders to develop their action plans. An early education improvement officer is supporting improvements in the Early Years Foundation Stage. An advisory headteacher visits the school regularly to support the acting headteacher and establishing systems to monitor the school more rigorously. The progress board has co-opted members with experience of school leadership and improvement including a local leader of education.

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