Marshland St James Primary head hits back at Ofsted

Education news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Education news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter

A village school’s headteacher has insisted her school is on the right track despite an inspector reporting its improvement plan is not fit for purpose.

The criticism came in an Ofsted inspector’s letter to the Marshland St James Primary School, which was published yesterday.

But headteacher Sarah Durrant said the latest inspection visit last month came only five weeks after the initial report describing the school as “inadequate” was first published.

The original report was published in late February, following a two-day inspection of the School Road site in January.

She said: “A lot of things are in place now, but the inspector wasn’t able to see them at the time.”

In the letter, inspector Kim Hall told Mrs Durrant: “You have worked hard and identified reasonable priorities of what needs to be achieved to improve the school.”

But she said the priorities previously identified had not been linked to improving standards for specific groups of pupils.

She said the criteria given for measuring successes were “often too vague or unrealistic”.

And she added: “There is still an insufficient sense of urgency in tackling some of the whole-school priorities for improvement.”

But Mrs Durrant said the letter also recognised some of the measures that have been taken to improve the school, including the strengthening of its governing body and measures to staff development and the monitoring of pupils’ work.

She said she felt the letter was “quite positive” and added: “The children are so proud about how the school has changed over the last six months.”

Meanwhile, parents will be consulted next week on plans for the school to become an academy, under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Ely.

Staff have already been consulted on the proposals this week.

And, if the plan is approved, the conversion process will take place ahead of the start of the new academic year in September.

Mrs Durrant said school leaders felt that additional church support would help them to raise standards still further.

She said: “It will give us a fantastic opportunity to really drive the school forward.

“This school has real capacity to be a good school. Historically there have been issues which are now being sorted out.

“We have got fantastic children here who are willing to learn and take their school forward.”