LETTER: Our school is not ‘failing’ its pupils

At the last Ofsted inspection in May, 2011, Lord Street School was graded as satisfactory. Could a satisfactory grade be described as failing? If not, then the quote “has again failed to meet Government standards” is incorrect.

In February, 2012, Sir Michael Wilshaw, HMCI, confirmed Ofsted will no longer describe schools as “satisfactory”. From September, 2012, the “satisfactory” grade was replaced with “requires improvement” and inspection reports were to be clear about what is needed to improve.

As you reported on March 1st, Ofsted found “there have been improvements in the quality of teaching since the last inspection in May, 2011”. Hardly a failing school.

Ofsted also said “although there is much teaching that is good and occasionally outstanding, it is not consistently good enough across the school, resulting in pupils not always achieving as well as they should.

“Teachers and support staff know their pupils well and build extremely positive and caring relationships. In the most effective teaching, teachers show good subject knowledge and use skilled questioning. They use the information on how well pupils are progressing to plan work that matches their needs and abilities, especially the more able. Skilled teaching assistants help pupils to learn quickly and build up their skills.

“These lessons involve activities that help to motivate pupils and give them opportunities to work independently. The teachers ensure pupils are clear about how to improve their work.

“In an outstanding maths lesson seen, Year 6 pupils of all abilities made rapid progress because the teacher planned activities that suited their abilities and ‘stretched’ their thinking. Pupils worked on their own and with partners, using practical resources to investigate probability in real-life problem solving. Throughout the lesson, the teacher checked on how well pupils were learning and used his excellent subject knowledge and skilled questioning to stimulate and motivate highly successful learning.

“This good quality teaching is evident in many lessons but is not yet consistently seen in all.”

The headteacher, staff and governing body will address all of the points raised by Ofsted and the appropriate actions will be taken.

MICHAEL SPEAK

Chairman of Governors,

Lord Street Primary School