South Wootton school head confident of improvement after Ofsted report

Education news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Education news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
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A headteacher says he is confident his school is making progress despite criticism from Ofsted inspectors in a new report.

The assessment, which was published yesterday, said South Wootton Junior School “requires improvement”, amid concerns over pupils’ attainment and the quality of teaching and assessment.

But the report also praised senior staff and governors, whom inspectors said were now taking decisive action to tackle the school’s weaknesses.

And headteacher Jonathan Rice said he was confident the effects of the reforms will have become clear when the inspectors return.

He said: “I think we will be in a very strong position.”

The report follows a two-day visit to the school by inspectors last month.

Lead inspector George Logan said that, although attainment among year six pupils was broadly average in this year’s SATs tests and had improved on the level recorded in 2013, it was still lower than the standard recorded two years ago.

Mr Rice admitted that the school’s 2013 results “were not good enough”, but said he was confident there would be a significant improvement in the 2015 assessments.

He said: “I know our current year six will achieve outstanding results. They are a fantastic group.”

Mr Logan also reported inconsistencies in teaching quality following the appointment of several new staff and said that, despite an established marking policy, not all staff gave pupils specific guidance on how to improve their work.

He added that teachers’ expectations were not always high enough and not all pupils had well formed handwriting, affecting the quality of their work.

But the report also praised the progress already made to address weaknesses.

It said children from disadvantaged backgrounds were now progressing at a faster rate and the gap between their attainment and other pupils was closing, while pupils of Indian heritage were said to achieve particularly well.

Progress in reading and the school’s provision for sport were both described as good, while pupils’ behaviour, one of two areas assessed as good in the report along with leadership and management, was said to have improved.

The school was classed as good during its last inspection in 2010.

And Mr Rice said that, while exam results “weighed heavily”, in the current assessment he felt the report showed the school was on the right track towards future success.

He said: “From Ofsted’s point of view, they need to see the improvements that are being made have had an impact.

“I think what they’re saying here is they haven’t had long enough yet.”

Chris Dewey, chairman of the school’s governing body, added: “I am delighted that Ofsted has recognised the improvement in behaviour, leadership and achievement of the school over the last 15 months.

“I am confident that as the teaching staff settle into the school we will all see continuing and rapid improvement moving forwards.

“I know that the headteacher, his teaching and support team and the governors are all fully committed to ensuring the school continues to improve.”