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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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School still needs to improve says Ofsted

A WHITEHAVEN school has been rated as still requiring improvement in its latest Ofsted inspection.

St Begh’s Junior School was inspected in February last year when it was noted standards had dropped from the last Ofsted visit in 2010.

All schools which are judged as requiring improvement receive an inspection within two years. The inspection last month shows the Coach Road school is still teaching at this level, now with good elements.

Ann Ashdown, inspector, said: “Pupils’ progress requires improvement because in some classes and in some subjects attainment is below average and progress is slower than that found nationally.”

The report notes pupils’ progress is “variable” and test scores attained by Year 6 since the last inspection are “broadly average overall but weakest in mathematics”.

The quality of teaching requires improvement and Ms Ashdown said: “The variation in teachers’ expectations means pupils do not make consistently good progress.”

The report highlights irregular marking in different subjects with English students being given “clear pointers for improvement” but in maths marking is “less helpful”.

Also in maths, “teachers are not planning work well enough so pupils learn new skills or deepen their understanding in a progressive and systematic way”.

“The behaviour and safety of pupils is good,” says Ms Ashdown.

“[They] show kindness and respect towards each other, staff and visitors.”

Pupils say they feel “safe in school” and bullying is “rare and soon dealt with”.

Leadership and management requires improvement “although school leaders have been successful in improving the school since the last inspection not enough has been done as yet to improve pupils’ achievements and the quality of teaching”.

To improve, the report states St Begh’s needs to “ensure pupils are challenged to achieve their best” and “increase the pace of learning”.

A raise in pupil attainment could be achieved Ms Ashdown says through “ensuring teachers plan a wide variety of tasks in maths” and mark pupils work with “specific pointers”.

It was noted St Begh’s did have the following strengths; weakness in staff is being tackled, attendance has risen and is now above average and pupils’ spiritual, and moral awareness is “developed well”.

The governors are now monitoring the school closely and staff have confidence in the “calm and supportive leadership of the new head”.

The school should improve the effectiveness of leadership and management by “working more closely with feeder schools in assessing pupils’ attainment” and “further developing the roles of subject leaders in monitoring the work of their subjects”.

Deacon Stephen Scott, chair of governors, said: “The governing body recognises we are on a collective journey of continuous development, of improvement and are fully committed to the content within the report and the need to continue to make progress.”

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