Burnley primary school put in special measures

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A BURNLEY primary school has been put into special measures after a damning Ofsted report.

Lowerhouse Junior School was branded “inadequate” after an inspection by the education watchdog earlier this year.

Inspectors slammed the standard of teaching and leadership at the school and said pupils’ attainment was below average.

The report said when pupils join the school in Year 3 their skills in reading, writing and maths are broadly average – but by the end of Year 6, their overall attainment is below average and well below average in maths.

Ofsted said teaching was “weak and uninspiring” and did not help pupils makes the progress they should.

It said teachers do not plan lessons that challenge pupils to learn more quickly and tasks are often too easy because teachers’ expectations of what pupils can achieve are too low.

Leadership and management were deemed inadequate and the report highlighted a failure to address the areas for improvement identified at the school’s previous inspection which was graded “satisfactory”.

The inspectors said the strengths were that parents were supportive of the school. Pupils were also said to feel safe and well cared for, their behaviour was said to be good and they were courteous and polite.

But inspectors said the school needed to urgently improve the effectiveness of leadership and management at all levels

Staff and governors were shocked at the news their school is being put into special measures.

Chairman of governors David Johnson said: “This has come as a big disappointment to the staff, and I know parents will be shocked at the news.

“Our previous Ofsted grading was ‘satisfactory’ – and our pupils’ test results have improved since then.

“However, we have a very comprehensive action plan in place to raise standards even further, which we’re already working on with excellent support from consultants and advisers from the county council.”

He said inspectors criticised the progress made by pupils while they were at Lowerhouse.

But in 2011/12, he said pupils taking their SAT tests scored 72% in English and maths combined – 12% above the national target – and 87% for English and reading, both above the national average. Writing and maths were both below national averages, though writing improved by a massive 27% from the previous year.

He added: “The reputation of our pupils for good behaviour and courtesy is well known, so I’m glad the inspectors took note of that. They also said they had good attitudes to learning and were ‘keen to learn’, which surely reflects well on the teaching they receive.

“We are proud of our children, their skills and the contribution they make, and it’s our belief we will come out of special measures very quickly.”