Recruitment problems blamed for ‘inadequate’ verdict on North Pickenham school

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Efforts to improve a village school which was deemed inadequate by inspectors this week have been undermined by staffing problems, a report has concluded.

The St Andrew’s CE Primary in North Pickenham will be put into special measures after the findings of its latest Ofsted inspection were published this morning.

And parents are being invited to a series of meetings at the school, where managers will set out how they intend to tackle the problems identified, including a bid to become an academy.

The latest report follows a new inspection of the South Pickenham Road school in July, less than two years after Ofsted said it required improvement.

Inspector Karen Heath said pupils’ progress was inadequate and hampered by weaknesses in teaching, which did not take enough account of what children already know.

The quality of the school’s leadership was also deemed to be inadequate.

But the report said both areas had been affected by high levels of staff turnover.

It said: “Governors have been relentless in their attempts to appoint good-quality teachers but have not been successful in ensuring the school provides an adequate education for its pupils.

“Because of the many changes in teaching staff, any improvements made have not been sustained.”

Headteacher Emily Gore-Rowe said the problem was not unique to her school, but had now been stabilised.

She added: “We are committed to improving our school, ensuring our pupils aim high and achieve well, developing and enriching the life of our school community.

“We are confident that the further training and development plans we have in place for the following months will bring about strong improvements quickly.”

Mrs Gore-Rowe and other senior managers are setting out their improvement plans in a series of meetings with parents this week, which include a bid to become an academy sponsored by the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT).

Mike Simm, the school’s vice-chairman of governors, said: “For several years the governors have been exploring how to ensure St Andrew’s has a long-term future in a supportive environment that fits with our school’s ethos.

“To that end, we have recently requested that we be allowed to become a DNEAT academy and so secure our school’s future for the local community.”