Meeching Valley Primary School in Newhaven goes into special measures

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MEECHING Valley Primary School in Newhaven has been placed into special measures after education watchdog Ofsted found it was inadequate.

The report, published on May 10, said overall effectiveness of the school, achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching and leadership and management were inadequate.

The school scored a four in all these areas, where one is outstanding, two is good, three is satisfactory and four is inadequate. However it did achieve a satisfactory in the behaviour and safety of pupils.

Head teacher Davina Wakelin said: “We are disappointed with the result of the inspection and know that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. With the support we have I am confident that this school will fulfil its potential and achieve the improvements needed.”

Ofsted recognised the school had put in place strategies to boost pupil performance, saying early indications were these actions were beginning to make a difference.

The report said: “Due to inexperienced leadership across the school the head teacher has had to manage performance and lead much of the improvement alone. As a result the school had not made enough progress since its last inspection and does not demonstrate the capacity to sustain improvement.”

It went on: “The recent appointment of a new head teacher and other staff, following a period of turbulence, is helping the school to settle.”

The inspector stressed the governing body and head teacher had secured some key improvements this year, including pupils’ behaviour, developing the partnership between parents and carers and the systems to evaluate the work of the school, including the collection and use of performance data.

Meeching Valley, in Valley Road, is receiving intense support from East Sussex County Council, so that rapid improvement can be made.

The inspection was carried out on March 15 and 16 and found that the pupils did not make satisfactory progress and that teaching needed to be improved, so it matched children’s need, and to improve the capacity of the school leadership.

The report said pupils’ achievement had been in decline since the last inspection, particularly in Reception and KS1 where it was inadequate. Although pupils were making better progress in KS2, this was not enough to make up for their earlier under achievement.

Attainment in maths and English was low throughout the school, with pupils’ writing, spelling, punctuation and handwriting described as weak.

The inspector said reading skills were developing too slowly because the teaching of letters and sounds was not rigorous enough.

There were too many lessons where pupils were making insufficient progress or where progress was no better than satisfactory.

However the report did say that pupils told how newly introduced routines had made the school a much more settled place.