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Making good progress: Ofsted return to Katherines Primary

Politics / Mon 16th Mar 2015 at 11:10am

OFSTED have returned to Katherines Primary and have noted the progress the school has made since being told to improve by the government watchdog.

The following observations were noted

1. Following the inspection in November 2014, you, your staff and the governing body have responded with a renewed determination to make Katherines a good school.

2.Some of the changes and new policies that were already in place and recognised in the November inspection report are now beginning to have an impact.

3. You have also welcomed external support, in particular from your partner school through the National Education Trust, and have created a culture within school where new ideas are welcomed and carefully evaluated to gauge impact on the progress of your pupils.

4. As you said during our tour of the school, ‘everything is now connected to learning’ and this clarity of purpose is evident in the new classroom displays which are designed to promote learning and have raised the aspirations of pupils.

5. Teachers are generally expecting more of their pupils, and of themselves. This is seen in the ‘Big Writing’ books where work is well presented and shows that the progress of many students is accelerating, particularly in Key Stage 1 and Year 4. Pupils were involved in challenging activities in most classrooms.

6. The early years learning area, especially the outdoor space, has improved since the November inspection. The area now has clear zones which encourage purposeful activities that, for example, encourage children to apply number skills and solve problems collaboratively – such as how to build a vehicle with milk crates.

7. Children are also able to take risks, such as working out how to get down safely from a beam, in a controlled environment. Because of this more organised approach, adults are able to identify which children would benefit from intervention and so help them to take the next steps needed to accelerate their progress.

8. Teachers and middle leaders are now more confident in assessing the levels at which pupils are working and then using this information to identify who needs extra support. The effectiveness of these interventions on progress is carefully monitored. Some teachers are beginning to use information on progress to help them plan tasks that are appropriate to the needs of individual pupils. Because of weaker teaching in the past, too many pupils, especially at Key Stage 2, still have gaps in their knowledge. These need to be addressed quickly to ensure they reach the levels they are capable of in the end of key stage assessments.

9. Since the November inspection, you have increased the number of opportunities for pupils to use and apply mathematical skills in practical ways. Middle leaders also check that pupils’ work is effectively marked and are developing the confidence to challenge and support other members of staff as necessary. They are working with middle leaders from your partner school to continue to develop their skills – for example in observation and feedback. Your senior and middle leaders are not yet taking on the level of responsibility that gives you the support you need to continue to move Katherines forward.

10. Members of the governing body now make weekly monitoring visits to the school. They are part of a robust monitoring programme that checks that the action plan is kept to. Governors now ask for evidence about the impact of these actions as well as just checking that they are happening. Despite a recent recruitment drive, the governing body remains two members short. This situation is putting pressure on the existing members as they strive to fully support your drive for improvement. Although further training is needed, and indeed planned, governors are more confident about challenging what they are told and holding you to account for the progress and attainment of your pupils.

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