Second school criticised by Ofsted

INADEQUATE progress is being made at King Offa Primary School.That's the finding of an Ofsted monitoring visit a report of which went online this week.

The teaching of older pupils is described as "inconsistent" and Inspector Stephen Long says current Year 6 pupils were "unlikely" to meet the required standard.

Efforts have been made since the last Ofsted inspection in July 2008 to boost performance and at the beginning of this last academic year the county council started an "intensifying support programme" because of concerns about continued low attainment.

As a result some progress has been made - but not enough, according to the inspector.

He said: "Having considered all the evidence, the school has made inadequate progress in making improvements and inadequate progress in demonstrating a better capacity for sustained improvement." He did feel pupil achievement in the Early Years foundation stage and Key Stage 1 was on target.

"However, in Key Stage 2 pupils do not make enough progress. Their attainment has fluctuated and is below average by the end of Year 6 in English, mathematics and science."

A new focus on Mathematics had showed results but improvement in English had not been sustained, while Science standards also had not risen.

The report continued: "Key Stage 2 teachers are more effective in managing pupils' behaviour, but remain inconsistent in securing good progress over time."

Another criticism was that in some lessons pupils who spent too long "listening passively to teachers" were likely to lose focus and become inattentive.

Mr Long added: "The local authority has recognised the slow progress being made in raising attainment and rightly deployed additional personnel to work alongside school leaders."

He felt this support had been effective in some areas but the school was not yet demonstrating a capacity for improvement, even though he praised head teacher Jenni Miller for bringing with her "a good measure of stability".

There are 320 pupils at King Offa from age five through to 11. The Ofsted monitoring visit report went online on Wednesday before parents at the school had been informed. As the Observer went to print parents had still not yet been informed.

Headteacher Jennie Miller said: "At our recent HMI monitoring visit, to look at progress from the last Ofsted, we were disappointed that in the 3 areas focussed on we have not made sufficient progress to move the school's category to good.

"We remain committed to working with the local authority to bring about the improvements needed in response to the areas highlighted in the HMI's letter."

One mum of a Year 6 pupil told the Observer said she was "shocked" to be told of the report.

She added: "I did hear bad things about the school but I have to say I can't speak highly enough of it myself. That's my personal view. From my point of view it's all positive, and I don't agree with what Ofsted says."

A spokesman from ESCC said: "We are concerned by the 'inadequate progress' identified in the monitoring report from Ofsted and we will continue to work closely with the school to secure improvement in the areas of weakness outlined in the report."