Ofsted says west Cumbrian primary school must improve

 Angela Jones
Angela Jones

A community school has been told to improve by government inspectors.

Ofsted visited Distington Community School in March and has now published its findings which show that the school has dropped from being “good” in 2013, to now requiring improvement.

Headteacher Angela Jones said the school has a “clear direction” and fully understands its strengths and areas for development, adding the senior leadership team has “drive and ambition”.

In his report, lead inspector Neil Dixon, said that pupils do not make consistently good progress across key stages one and two, and as a result levels of attainment have declined.

He said teachers do not consistently provide “sufficient challenge for the most able pupils,” resulting in “too few reaching the high standards of which they are capable”.

Governors do not have enough knowledge or understanding of the school’s performance information to fully recognise strengths and weaknesses, explained Mr Dixon, saying their views of the school’s performance are overly generous.

The school was praised for having several strengths, including the headteacher and other leaders having a realistic view of the school’s position and are “determinedly tackling weaknesses.”

“Their work is already bearing fruit as progress for most current pupils is beginning to accelerate,” he said.

He also singled out the phonics teaching as a strength of the school, with children quickly developing key early reading skills.

“The headteacher knows the school well and has an accurate and realistic view of its current strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

“She has successfully ensured that other members of the leadership team also recognise the challenges facing the school and share her ambition and drive to improve.”

Mrs Jones said: “The emerging picture of improving progress across all year groups is beginning to bear fruit showing that the strategies we have in place are supporting the children to make accelerated progress.

“We are very proud that the welfare of the children and the behaviour throughout the school has been recognised as good and stringent safeguarding policies are followed by all staff and visitors.”

She added that the governing body is growing in confidence and have already taken steps to develop their skills and provide effective challenge for the head teacher.

“The senior leadership team, including the head teacher, recognise the areas for development and we are already working hard to provide the best education for the children who attend our school,” she said.

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