Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 6°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Sudbury: Outgoing headteachers criticise Ofsted inspections

09:15 07 May 2014

Headteacher Jane Sharp, who is retiring from Woodhall County Primary School in Sudbury.

Headteacher Jane Sharp, who is retiring from Woodhall County Primary School in Sudbury.

Archant

Three headteachers who are all leaving west Suffolk primary schools at the end of this term have told of the “significant challenges” posed by changes to the Government’s Ofsted inspections.

shares

More stringent assessments focussed on “data” rather than a holistic approach to education have also come at a time when the county’s schools have been undergoing a change to two tier education as part of the school organisation review (SOR).

By the end of this term, every school in Sudbury and Great Cornard will have undergone a change of headteacher within a three year period.

Among the latest to leave their posts is St Gregory’s Primary School head, Phil Knowles, 48, who is taking up a new role with the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich as an advisor to church primary schools.

Also leaving are Woodhall Primary headteacher Jane Sharp, 59, and 64-year-old Wilma Hyde, from Pot Kiln Primary in Great Cornard, who are both retiring.

Mr Knowles, who started at St Gregory’s in 2008, believes pressures associated with heading up a school have increased dramatically. He said the biggest change has been to Ofsted, which has become more “data driven”.

“When I started, the inspectors were interested in good practice, seeing good teaching and a range of things going on in a school, but now it’s more of a number crunching exercise,” Mr Knowles said.

“If you are not deemed to be working at the appropriate levels – which are becoming higher and higher – it can cause huge problems.

“Some schools in the area that have been traditionally regarded as good schools have all of a sudden found themselves in a negative category – such as Tudor Primary which was recently put in special measures – and that has an impact on the whole community.

“If a school that has been very highly thought of doesn’t do well at Ofsted, it paints a negative picture of what’s happening in a school, when there are actually an awful lot of good things going on.”

Mrs Sharp, who has recently overseen the expansion of Woodhall to accommodate up to 420 students, agreed that changes to Ofsted posed a significant challenge to headteachers.

She said: “Where the inspectors used to take into account a lot more of what the school was doing in a holistic way, they are really nitpicking over things like English and maths when it should also be about the whole child and the enjoyment of learning.

“Because the Government’s focus is on English and maths, it seems that they’re not interested in anything else – it’s a shame if those important things like taking part in school productions are getting pushed out because of data.”

Mrs Sharp said the whole SOR had been a “huge change for the town”.

Meanwhile Mrs Hyde, who has been at Pot Kiln Primary since 2006, added: “I have enjoyed the job in the main but there have been some huge changes which have posed a challenge for all teaching staff.

“My biggest achievements were bringing the school back out of special measures and going through the SOR and managing that process. The recent changes have certainly made teaching a more stressful and demanding job.”

In March, an Ofsted report said that the life chances of young people in Suffolk were being “damaged” by the county council’s failure to challenge and support schools.

Sean Harford, Ofsted’s regional director for the east of England, said there have been no “significant improvements” in pupils’ attainment and no “clear strategy” for how the authority will make improvements.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Suspected gas explosion on Federick Road in Gorleston.

 Picture: James Bass

Two people have been taken to hospital following a suspected gas explosion near Lowestoft.

Cobbolds Point, Felixstowe, by Peter Smith, is on show as part of the Suffolk Creative Photographic Group exhibition at Woodbridge Library during March

From broody compositions to sun-kissed scenes – an exhibition of photographs currently on display at a Suffolk library has a bit of everything to offer.

Pupils at Sir Robert Hitcham's Primary School in Framlingham dress up as characters from their favourite books fo World Book Day.

The library came to life in the playground of a Suffolk school today.

Michael Davey, left

Tributes have poured in for a “hugely influential” teacher who will be “profoundly missed” by staff, students and parents of a Suffolk independent school.

Southwold Pier basks in the early morning spring sunshine

Spring is hitting the East with full force this weekend with temperatures expecting to reach the mid teens.

A pile up has blocked a road in Ipswich

Duke Street in Ipswich is blocked because of a five vehicle “pile-up”.

Former Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane

Former Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane is due to appear in court over an alleged road-rage row with a taxi driver.

The photo of police in Ipswich who served during the General Strike in 1926 which is being auctioned by Lockdales

A photograph of the men who kept order in Ipswich during the 1926 General Strike is to go under the hammer at auction.

Alex Till ( third from right at the front), chief executive of MENTA, has been appointed by the Newbury Community Association as chairman of the Newbury Community Centre Project Board.

A business leader has been appointed to bring his skills to a project for a brand new community centre on Bury St Edmunds’ Howard estate.

Jane Ireland is continuing Wally's café, which was run by her father in Long Melford.

The daughter of a former chef and cafe owner who died last month at the age of 84 has vowed to keep the memory of his legendary breakfasts and Sunday roasts alive.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages