HERRINGHAM Primary Academy has been told that it “requires improvement” by government watchdog Ofsted.
The inspectors came to the school in July. Although the report is seen as fair, there are many others who feel that the reduction in staff and struggles to attract teachers is impacting on not only schools such as Herringham but others across the borough.
The following criticisms were made
The quality of teaching, learning and assessment across the school is too varied. As a result, pupils do not make the progress of which they are capable. In particular, the progress pupils make in key stage 2 is low.
The leadership team does not provide sufficient training to ensure that teachers in the early years of their careers are supported to improve their practice. A new structure to improve the leadership of the school is planned to be in place from September 2018.
Leaders do not evaluate precisely enough the impact the pupil premium spending is having on increasing the progress of disadvantaged pupils. Consequently, the pupils are not catching up with their peers nationally.
Some pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities do not make sufficient progress from their starting points.
The progress that pupils make in reading from key stage 1 to key stage 2 is well below the national average. Teachers are not consistent in ensuring that pupils fully understand less common vocabulary.
Some pupils are not confident to reason and think through problems in mathematics. This is because the teachers do not have enough understanding of how to develop this skill in pupils.
Adults do not consistently insist on the highest quality of handwriting and presentation. Many of the younger pupils have a poor pencil grip. As a result, pupils’ letter and number formation are not accurate enough.
The following strengths were identified.
Leaders make sure that pupils are well cared for and safe. Staff report concerns well and use the school’s policies and procedures in a timely and effective way.
Governors and directors of the multi-academy trust are fully committed to the school and are aware of the challenges it has faced.
Children in the early years make strong progress. This is because leaders ensure that the curriculum is well suited to children’s needs. Additionally, children develop their early reading skills well.
Pupils attend school regularly. Over time, attendance has been in line with the national average. The school’s work to reduce persistent absenteeism is proving effective.
The chief executive of the Gateway Learning Community, Kevin Sadler said: “Herringham, like many schools in the East of England, has struggled to recruit and retain well qualified teachers in recent years. This has impacted in some classes where teaching was described as ‘satisfactory’.
“Whilst the Ofsted team acknowledged that early years provision as well as pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare are good; and that key stage 2 results have improved in the last year they; like the school, Ofsted are looking for further improvements.
The school has restructured to expand its leadership team [all of whom will be classroom based] and will oversee the quality of teaching in every year group. Ofsted agreed that this is the best possible strategy to move the school rapidly back to ‘good’.
The full report can be found below.