Work to improve school is paying off, says Ofsted

AN INSPECTOR has praised a primary school’s work to improve the quality of pupils’ education.

Ofsted says that Barley Close Community Primary School remains a ‘good’ school overall, after making a short visit in the summer.

But the education regulator said there was evidence that the school’s rating might not be as high were a more detailed ‘graded’ inspection to be carried out.

An inspector recommended that this should be done next time around, after finding “weaknesses in some aspects of the curriculum”.

Inspector Julie Carrington visited the school, which has many pupils from Lyde Green because of delays to plans to build the estate’s second primary school, in June.

Her report, published during the summer holidays, said: “The school sits at the heart of the community. There is a strong family feel.

“Throughout the school caring adults are on hand to provide pupils with any emotional support they require.”

The inspector said pupils’ physical and mental health was a “top priority”, highlighting the benefits of the school’s swimming pool, where children started lessons in reception, ‘daily mile’ run, forest school and yoga lessons.

She said: “There is a sharp focus on raising pupils’ aspirations. Examples include attending workshops at a local university and learning from firefighters and sportspersons about perseverance and achieving personal goals.

“Pupils study a broad range of subjects. However, there are weaknesses in some aspects of the curriculum that pupils receive.

“Staff’s expectations of what pupils can achieve and how they should behave vary. At times, pupils lose concentration in lessons.”

The inspector said school leaders were “working systematically to improve the quality of education pupils receive”, reorganising the timetable and “revamping subject curriculums effectively”.

She added: “In the recent past, some pupils did not master essential subject content. Leaders are ensuring that staff are addressing pupils’ gaps in knowledge head-on. However, they are only part way through this work.”

The inspector said changes to maths teaching had improved teaching of multiplication and number fluency, although gaps in some pupils’ knowledge still needed to be addressed.

Work on teaching early reading across the school, including extra teaching for pupils who need to catch up, was “paying off” and children’s reading was improving as a result.

But the inspector added: “Nonetheless, there are some weaknesses in the implementation of subject curriculums. Leaders have not ensured that all staff have strong subject knowledge in all the subjects they teach.”

The report also highlighted “low-level disruption” in some lessons and said staff did not address misbehaviour at lunchtimes swiftly.

The visit was Ofsted’s first to Barley Close since May 2017, when it was also judged to be good.

The regulator usually visits schools every four years. It says it will return for a full graded inspection within the next two years.

The Voice has asked Barley Close for a comment on the report.