School in special measures ‘has begun to address issues’

Great Whelnetham Priamry School is making improvements Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Great Whelnetham Priamry School is making improvements Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Archant

A village primary school in west Suffolk has been placed into “special measures” after it dropped from being ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’ since its last full inspection.

Great Whelnetham CEVC Primary School, near Bury St Edmunds, was visited by Ofsted, the Government department for school inspections, in January - 11 years since a full inspection found it to be outstanding.

In the most recent inspection report Ofsted heavily criticised management at the school, saying leaders have been “too slow to address the decline in pupils’ achievement”, and found students’ progress to be inadequate, particularly in writing and maths.

The report said pupils’ progress in these subjects at the end of year six has been in the lowest 20% of schools for the past two years.

Governance at the school was also picked out for failures, with the report saying governors had not challenged leaders about the school’s poor performance.

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In 2017 a review of governance was carried out and a pre-warning notice was issued by the local authority, but “governors did not address the recommendations with rigour or urgency”.

While newly-appointed governors know what needs to improve, the inspector said they have not yet had sufficient time to make an impact.

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The school has been approached for comment.

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “Suffolk County Council is working closely with the leaders, including governors, at Great Whelnetham Church of England Primary School to support them to rapidly address the issues set out in the Ofsted report.

“The school has begun to address these areas and with further support we are confident that the school leaders will make the improvements required, and that Ofsted will see evidence of this at the next inspection.”

The inspector found the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, outcomes for pupils and early years provision to all be inadequate, but pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare were good.

The report said teachers do not expect enough of their pupils and do not make effective use of assessment to ensure that activities are well planned to meet their needs, and added outcomes for disadvantaged pupils were “particularly poor”.

“Parents who spoke with the inspector all agreed that leaders provide a safe and nurturing environment. However, many of these parents expressed concerns about their children’s progress in learning and how well leaders communicated with them,” the report said.

It did say pupils’ achievement in reading is improving at key stage two.

The diocese was also approached for comment, as was Ofsted.

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