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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Still room for improvement Ofsted inspectors tell west Cumbrian school

A west Cumbrian primary school has been told that there is still room for improvement by Government inspectors.

The results of last month’s Ofsted inspection of Hensingham School in Whitehaven state the school’s s overall effectiveness requires improvement.

The school was visited by inspectors in September – when the issue was first flagged up. A follow-up visit was made on November 21.

In a letter to Nick Fish, the school’s headteacher, inspector Leszek Iwashkow, said: “Senior leaders and governors are not taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement identified at the last inspection and plans are not sharply focused on rapidly bringing about improvement.”

The school has been advised to take immediate action to:

  • Review the current improvement plan to ensure that it is firmly focussed on improving teaching and classroom practice and that rigorous monitoring is used to challenge weak teaching;
  • Complete an action plan for governors and ensure training is provided as a “matter of urgency” to empower governors to be more proactive in challenging school managers in improving outcomes for pupils;
  • Ensure a governors’ monitoring group is set up to meet regularly with school managers to monitor the actions being taken to speed up improvements;
  • Ensure key policies are clear in what is expected and that these are applied consistently across the school;
  • Make sure training for teachers is relevant and impact is reflected in improved teaching in the classroom;
  • Involve all subject leaders in providing ideas, suggestions and resources to improve teaching in their areas of responsibility.

During the inspectors’ visit meetings were held, the school’s development plan was evaluated and its reading policy scrutinised.

In his letter Mr Iwashkow said: “The current development plan lacks cohesion and many of the actions planned may be related, but are peripheral, to direct improvement in the classroom.”

He added that pupils had said there had been no noticeable change in the way they were being taught since September’s the inspection – where the school was first identified as needing improvement.

“The plan has no sharp, quantitative indicators against which progress can be measured,” he said. “Equally, several actions lack the precise detail which will support and structure development of classroom practice and lead to real impact.”

The letter points out that there was a small improvement in the achievement of pupils in national tests in 2013 but there was too much inconsistency between classes and from year to year.

Inspectors could carry out further visits and provide further support and challenge to the school until its next section five inspection as a result of the recent findings.

No one from the school was available for comment.

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