The Downs primary praised for key improvements

News / Tue 25th Feb 2014 at 10:16am

THE DOWNS primary school has been praised by Ofsted for making key improvements.

Last year, the school was told by the government watchdog to “make improvements”.

Ofsted returned and made the following statement:

The experienced and skilled interim headteacher is making a difference and driving improvements with vigour. The school improvement plan is a detailed document. It addresses all of the areas for improvement from the section 5 inspection. It helpfully includes key questions for governors to ask, so that they can check the school’s progress. There are clear and measureable measures of impact, broken down into milestones targets. The headteacher evaluates all of the school’s improvement work for its impact.

Leaders provide support and training to improve teaching including that provided by the local authority, but there are no clear improvement plans to improve teaching that is not yet good. A range of monitoring activities including lesson observations, work scrutiny and analysis of progress take place but these are not yet combined to give an accurate view of teaching over time. The headteacher makes accurate and insightful evaluations of teaching and learning and identifies appropriate targets for improvement following lesson observations.

Leaders have conducted a book scrutiny to assess the effectiveness of the school’s approach to teaching writing. As a result, leaders have amended the school’s practice and provision. The leaders for mathematics works with staff to improve their teaching.

Pupils’ progress and attainment is checked more regularly in Key Stage 1 and 2. Leaders identify pupils who are stuck or have fallen behind and teachers are held to account for their progress.

Early Years Foundation Stage staff have introduced ‘learning challenges’ to give more focus to activities. However, more needs to be done to ensure that teachers plan for children’s’ individual needs and challenge them well. The school employs a teacher with particular expertise in early learning but insufficient time is yet given to support Early Years Foundation Stage improvement. Staff track the progress of children in Reception classes and have implemented a new system to do this. More needs to done, however, to compare outcomes between groups.

The behaviour policy has been adapted to include rewards to encourage pupils to walk sensibly around the school and this is having a positive impact on behaviour.

Teachers’ assessments of writing are checked and compared to ensure that they are more accurate. Marking has improved and twenty-five minutes of each day are devoted to giving pupils opportunities to respond to marking and for teachers to pick up quickly on any misconceptions.

Members of the governing body are linked with each of the school’s priorities for improvement and are clear about their role in monitoring the work of the school. Governors conduct learning walks to see for themselves the improvements the school is making.

Ofsted may carry out further visitsdowns2 and, where necessary, provide further support and challenge to the school until its next section 5 inspection.

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