Head of Lowestoft primary school in special measures says it will improve

PUBLISHED: 11:38 22 May 2015 | UPDATED: 11:38 22 May 2015

Elm Tree Primary School head teacher Hilary Day with pupils

Elm Tree Primary School head teacher Hilary Day with pupils

The head teacher of a Lowestoft primary school put into special measures by Ofsted said work was already being done to improve standards

Elm Tree Primary School was given the rating just 14 months after a previous inspection had deemed it ‘good’,

In the report, inspectors noted that: “School leaders have failed to ensure that teaching and learning are effective.

“They have not set high enough standards in order for pupils to achieve in line with their capabilities, resulting in pupils falling significantly behind their peers nationally by the end of Key Stage 2.”

But Mrs Day said the number of pupils in the school had increased significantly between inspections, which brought challenges.

“I’ve you’ve got children joining you mid-way through Key Stage 2 they’re still measured in Year 6.

“If we haven’t had them all the way through sometimes the expected progress gap comes because no matter how hard we try, we haven’t had enough time to close it.”

Inspectors also raised concerns over the assessment of pupils’ progress, which they said caused the school to have too generous a view of the achievement of its pupils.

They also found staff absence led to ‘senior leaders regularly teaching at the expense of improving the quality of teaching throughout the school’.

Mrs Day acknowledged that there were vacancies at the time of the inspection, but said the school had since ‘appointed additional staff’.

She also said that some staff were away on a residential visit with pupils during the time of the inspection.

“They didn’t see all the teachers and the teaching,” said Mrs Day. “We recognise the judgment is the judgement, but we’re not sitting here doing nothing.

“We have been proactive. We’re very confident we can get back up to ‘good’.”

She also said the school had commissioned a team of Ofsted-qualified advisers to support specific areas which need to be improved, which had been done before the report was published.

Ofsted praised the ‘warm and inviting school environment’ and said pupils told them they felt safe in the school as adults will help them if they have a problem.

Mrs Day also said the school had received messages from parents since the report was published last week.

“We have had a lot of support from our parents, which we value,” she said. “We look forward to moving from the category that we are in and moving out of special measures as swiftly as possible.”

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