Burrowmoor Primary School in March taken out of special measures but still requires much improvement

Susan Dobbs

Susan Dobbs - Credit: Archant

Burrowmoor Primary School in March has been taken out of special measures with inspectors recognising progress and “effective leadership” - despite five areas that still require improvement.

Burrowmoor Primary School

Burrowmoor Primary School - Credit: Archant

After being put into special measures (where schools are given a notice to improve) 18 months ago, the academy school - which has 452 pupils aged three to 11 and is part of the Active Learning Trust – is now deemed as ‘requires improvement’.

The effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for pupils still need improving, according to an Ofsted inspection carried out in December.

The report states “the most able pupils are not stretched enough in mathematics; the teaching and learning of history, geography and science are not good enough. Expectations of what pupils can achieve are not high enough and skills development within these subjects is sporadic”.

It adds “the welfare of parents and their children who have an education, health and care plan has not been good enough because of poor communication. Consequently, a small group of parents lack confidence in the school to provide appropriate support for their children.

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“Procedures for performance management and the tracking of pupils’ progress are not well enough established to support school leaders who are improving teaching and learning.

“Some middle leaders are still learning how to lead effectively and, consequently, they do not have sufficient impact on the areas for which they are responsible”.

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It does however state that headteacher Susan Dobbs, who took on the role in September 2016, is “establishing a culture of high expectations for respect and tolerance” demonstrating “effective leadership.

“They have ensured that the necessary improvements to the teaching and learning of basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics have occurred and that behaviour throughout the school and the quality of education in the early years have improved markedly.

“Morale has improved as all staff demonstrate a determination to improve the education of pupils.

“The trust has aided governors in making the necessary strategic decisions to strengthen teaching and leadership.

“Teachers and teaching assistants are working hard to improve their teaching. They take a professional approach when weaknesses are pointed out and plan and share ideas to improve their teaching.

Ofsted inspector Tim Bristow states a number of strengths of the academy school.

“Last summer, at the end of Year 6, pupils’ overall attainment in reading, writing and mathematics was above average. This is because of the good progress that they made during their time in Year 6.

“Behaviour is good. Pupils demonstrate much-improved attitudes to learning in lessons. Typically, they work hard and try to do their best.

“Provision in the early years is good. Children enter the nursery or reception classes with skills development that is lower than expected. Good-quality teaching, learning and assessment ensure that they make good progress to catch up”.

To improve the quality of teaching, learning and outcomes, “a consistent approach to skills development in history, geography and science” should be developed “to raise expectations of what pupils can achieve.

To improve the impact of leadership and management, the school should “ensure that procedures to manage the performance of teachers and track the progress of pupils underpin the improvements made to teaching and learning”.

It adds that “the governing body should commission a review of the education, health and care plans and provision for all pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.

“The findings of this review should be communicated effectively, so that the school gains the trust of the parents of these pupils”.

Headteacher Susan Dobbs said: “I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of the staff, pupils, parents and community at Burrowmoor has been recognised and that the school is now officially out of special measures.

“I would like to thank our executive headteacher Jason Wing and our colleagues across the Active Learning Trust for their continued support and belief in our school.

“At Burrowmoor we are embracing this success as a firm foundation for the future as we continue on our journey to excellence, through continuing to provide the best possible education for our children.”

Executive headteacher Jason Wing said: “I have been impressed with how quickly the school has come out of special measures and this is testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff and pupils.”

Gary Peile, chief executive of the Active Learning Trust, said: “I am very pleased that the inspectors saw the many positive changes implemented by the team at Burrowmoor, enabling the school to come out of special measures in very good time.

“We look forward with great optimism that the work of Susan Dobbs and her team will embed the excellent progress seen since September and that the results at the school, which are already very good, will continue to improve.”

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