Eastbourne junior school 'requires improvements' in Ofsted rating

A junior school in Eastbourne has been rated as ‘requires improvements’ in a recent Ofsted inspection.

The school was judged on four categories – the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management.

Ocklynge Junior School in Victoria Drive was inspected in April and the report has been released this month.

The report said it rated as 'requires improvement' for the quality of education and leadership and management. It rated as 'good' for behaviour and attitudes, and personal development.

Ocklynge School, Eastbourne.

It says, “Pupils feel safe and included in this friendly community. They greet each other with smiles and are happy to be at school.”

In terms of bullying, it says staff deal with incidents 'quickly'. There is also a range of extra curricular initiatives at the school such as after-school clubs and the chance for students to be 'eco-warriors'.

Despite leaders being 'ambitious for what pupils can achieve', the report said, “Their actions to improve the quality of education are not as clearly honed and well established as they need to be. This means that in most subjects pupils do not learn as much as they should. Most of the weakest readers do not learn to read fluently and with comprehension.”

The curriculum is praised as being 'broad and balanced' and in English and maths teachers are good at identifying pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) which means they're provided with the help and resources to help them learn well.

However, the report says that 'in many subjects the curriculum is not well sequenced' and 'leaders have not clearly identified the essential knowledge they want pupils to learn and the order in which they want them to learn'. All of this results in pupils not achieving 'as well as they should'.

The report also criticises the teachers. It says, “Teachers are not well trained to confidently deliver all subjects. They do not check carefully enough that pupils have understood important ideas before introducing new concepts.

“Teachers’ subject knowledge is too variable. They do not embed the essential knowledge that pupils need to know well. Consequently, pupils are not well prepared for the next stage of their education. Leaders need to provide training to develop teachers’ expertise to deliver the curriculum effectively.”

Although the phonics programme is 'well organised', the report says 'some staff do not deliver phonics effectively'. Reading is also an issue raised as the inspection found 'books are not always matched to the sounds pupils learn in lessons'. As a result 'this hampers pupils’ reading'.

Both of these issues are being addressed by leaders according to the report.

On the subject of staff attitudes, the report says, “Overall, staff are enthusiastic and work well as a team. Nevertheless, they say that sometimes leaders introduce too many initiatives in one go and do not communicate their plans clearly. Some staff do not feel valued and appreciated.

“Governors know what the school does well and where improvements need to be made. However, they recognise that they need to focus their monitoring of the curriculum more sharply. They have identified that, in the past, they have not challenged leaders well enough about the quality of education.”

Ocklynge Junior School has been asked for a comment.