Howard Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds put in special measures by Ofsted

Howard Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds has been placed into special measures by Ofsted.

Howard Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds has been placed into special measures by Ofsted. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A primary school in Bury St Edmunds has been put in special measures by Ofsted following a damning inspection.

Senior leaders at Howard Community Primary School and Suffolk County Council (SCC) were accused of failing to “stem the decline in standards” which have fallen to “all-time lows”.

The school’s Ofsted rating has fallen from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’. Last night, education chiefs accepted the “disappointing” rating but backed new leadership with a “proven track record” to make rapid improvement.

A total of 252 pupils attend the school, which moved to the former Howard Middle School in September 2016. The entire governing body stood down two months later amid “significant” challenges and uncertainties.

The new Ofsted report states: “A series of temporary leaders this year have not adequately addressed the urgent priorities in the school. Any improvements are fragile or have had minimal impact. Outcomes in 2017 have slipped even further to a remarkably low standard in key stages 1 and 2 for all groups of pupils.” Just 35% of 11-year-olds achieved the expected standards in reading, writing and maths in the SATs exams last year.

It added: “The curriculum is badly organised, lacking in breadth and depth, and poorly taught. This includes the development of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding. Teaching, learning and assessment in the school are weak. Teachers do not use assessment well to plan work that matches the needs or abilities of any groups of pupils.”

Gordon Jones, education cabinet member at SCC, said: “We have been working closely with the school throughout this (recent) difficult period, appointing a new chair of governors and governing body in October 2016 and interim head teacher arrangements. The current school leadership has a proven track record of improving education settings which are struggling. The school is now making good progress and we are confident it will improve.”

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Toby Slater-Robins, chair of governors, said: “It is extremely disappointing that despite the dedicated and tireless work of many, the school has been judged to be inadequate in all areas. (We) fully acknowledge and accept the report’s findings (and) will continue to work to accelerate and embed improvements.”

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