16:55 Tuesday 03 December 2013

'Inadequate' progress at special measures school - Head teacher vows to continue fight to improve standards

Written byMARK MCKAY

Belvedere junior school Belvedere junior school

A JUNIOR school placed in special measures nearly two years ago has not sufficiently improved, according to education inspectors.

Belvedere Junior School, in Outwoods Street, Burton has made ‘inadequate’ progress since inspectors first raised concerns about teaching standards and pupils’ attainment in February 2012.

Since then, inspectors from the Government’s education watchdog Ofsted reported good progress being made in four monitoring visits.

But the tables turned on the school after a below average set of exam results in maths, reading and writing earlier this year, which led to a damning judgement from Ofsted inspector Mark Sims.

In a letter to the school’s head teacher Jean Woolner, he said pupils had made ‘inadequate progress’ since the end of year two while older pupils ‘suffered from weaker teaching’.

He also said despite some improvements in maths teaching, the same could not be said for reading and writing.

“Too much of the teaching seen during the visit in lower key stage two was inadequate,” he said.

“Instances of good teaching were few and far between and overall teaching was not good enough.”

Head teacher Mrs Woolner, who was tasked with turning the school’s ailing fortunes around, immediately transformed the school’s ‘ethos, morale and attitude’, Mr Sims said.

But a system to track pupils’ progress, regular monitoring from inspectors and the local authority had not ‘led to any significant improvements’, he added.

Yesterday, Mrs Woolner told the Mail she was disappointed with the outcome given previous positive feedback.

She said: “We are really disappointed because previous to this visit we had four good reports but this has come along and hit us out of the blue.

“We are due to have another Ofsted visit in February so all we can do is to keep continuing to do what we are doing.

“My job has not changed - I’m still working to improve the standards of all of the children in the school.

“All we can do is to continue to our best but sometimes it falls short of what Ofsted is looking for.”

Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for learning said: “Our number one priority is to make sure that our school pupils get the best education possible and we will continue to work hard with our schools to achieve this.

“We have been working closely with the head teacher and governing body at the school to improve standards over the past year and will continue until the highest standards are achieved.

“While there is still room for improvement at the school, the recent inspection did observe an increasing number of good and outstanding lessons.

“Rates of pupil progress are also improving with the Year 6 pupil attainment in 2013 higher than previously. The support the school has had from the council was also noted as having an impact on the quality of teaching with a robust action plan in place to continue the improvements.”

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