Primary school told it needs to improve

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A primary school has been told it needs to improve even after the efforts of its executive headteacher saw inadequate teaching “eliminated”.

Plumpton Primary, near Lewes, was visited by Ofsted inspector Andrew Saunders on May 6/7 and his findings were published on June 4.

This was the second consecutive inspection to end with Plumpton receiving a ‘requires improvement’ rating, the previous one being published in June 2013.

In his report, Mr Saunders said: “Teaching is not yet consistently good. Teachers do not always expect enough of the pupils in their class, particularly the most able. Too often teachers allow pupils to work slowly and they do not get as much work done as they could. At times, they do not expect pupils to grapple with more difficult work.

“This means the pace of learning is not always quick enough to overcome a legacy of previous underachievement.”

Mr Saunders acknowledged the work being undertaken by executive headteacher Lesley Young, who was brought in on a temporary basis following the 2013 report while also continuing her role as head of Chailey School.

He said: “Inadequate teaching has been eliminated, and teaching is increasingly effective. The executive headteacher and head of school have worked closely together to ensure that they check the quality of teaching, and give teachers helpful, clear feedback so that they know what they need to improve.”

The report cited the ‘good leadership’ of Mrs Young and head of school Caroline Lamb for bringing about improvements in reading, mathematics, the behaviour of the pupils and early years provision.

It noted concerns raised by parents about the long-term permanent leadership at the school - an issue which is now being dealt with.

A statement from Plumpton said the governing body hoped to secure a permanent partnership with another, as yet unnamed, primary school and recruitment for a new executive headteacher would begin “in earnest” in September.

In the meantime, another executive head, Gil Sweetenham had been appointed to oversee matters.

Mrs Young said: “The whole Plumpton Primary School community – governors, staff, pupils and parents – have worked together to make clear and rapid progress from the 2013 position.

“We are delighted to have our work thus far recognised by Ofsted and we have a platform to launch us into the next phase and everyone should be proud of their achievements, commitment and partnership on our journey so far.”

Mr Saunders highlighted a number of issues which the school needed to address in order to receive a ‘good’ rating.

These included increasing the pace and consistency of pupils’ progress, particularly in writing and English grammar, punctuation and spelling; and ensuring more teaching was ‘outstanding’ and no teaching was less than ‘good’.

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