Standards plummet from good to inadequate at Swaffham school

Education news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Education news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter

Behaviour is inadequate and some pupils show a lack of respect for staff at a school where standards have plummeted, according to Ofsted.

Achievement, teaching, behaviour and management at Swaffham Junior School were all rated inadequate by inspectors, in a report just published.

The school’s work to keep pupil’s safe and secure was also rated inadequate and parents had reported fears that children were not safe there.

Tracey McCarthy, headteacher, said action has already been taken to address safety concerns and other points raised.

The report said pupils’ attainment had declined since the last inspection, in 2011, when it was rated good.

It said: “The school’s current information and work in pupils’ books shows that progress is inadequate in all year groups particularly in writing and mathematics.”

The report said children leaving the school in year six had well-below average attainment in reading, writing and maths. It said pupils of all abilities underachieve and those from disadvantaged backgrounds remain behind their peers.

It added: “Teachers are not accurate at making judgements about pupils’ attainment. Their assessments are frequently generous. Pupils who underachieve are, therefore, not identified quickly enough.

“High absence rates prevent some pupils from making the progress they should as they are not in school.”

The report acknowledged that of the school’s 172 pupils, the proportion from disadvantaged backgrounds is above average and the proportion with special educational needs is well above average.

Miss McCarthy said: “We are disappointed in the overall conclusion of the report, though we note that it recognises some of the challenges we face as a school and the steps we need to take to ensure rapid improvement for our pupils.

“We have ambitious staff and governors, who are determined to take all necessary steps to improve teaching and learning and ensure that our children achieve their potential.

“We are already working with the County Council to make sure that we quickly put in place measures to improve safeguarding arrangements – this has been our first priority, and we have already addressed every issue highlighted in both our verbal and written feedback from the inspectors.”

Miss McCarthy, who joined the school in September 2008, added that inspectors had also noted positives, such as the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.