Poor leadership and inadequate quality of education lead to Kingsfield Primary School headteacher stepping down - despite being appointed just two years ago

PUBLISHED: 17:16 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:16 30 January 2020

Poor leadership and an inadequate quality of education have lead to Sian Pritchard, who is the headteacher of Kingsfield Primary School in Chatteris, stepping down in Easter - despite being appointed just two years ago. Picture: ACTIVE LEARNING TRUST

Poor leadership and an inadequate quality of education have lead to Sian Pritchard, who is the headteacher of Kingsfield Primary School in Chatteris, stepping down in Easter - despite being appointed just two years ago. Picture: ACTIVE LEARNING TRUST

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Poor leadership and an inadequate quality of education have lead to the headteacher of Kingsfield Primary School in Chatteris stepping down - despite being appointed just two years ago.

Sian Pritchard joined the school in September 2017 when it was removed from special measures; inspectors said then that interim head teacher Anne Robertson "had put the spark back into Kingsfield" following an 'inadequate' rating in 2013.

Now, following an Ofsted inspection in November 2019, it has fallen to an overall effectiveness rating of 'inadequate'.

The school was rated as 'inadequate' in two areas: quality of education and leadership and management, while in terms of behaviour and attitudes, it received a 'requires improvement' rating. The school did however achieve 'good' ratings in terms of personal development and early years provision.

They say that The Active Learning Trust, governors and school leaders have failed to ensure that progress has been made since the last inspection.

"They have not had a systemic approach to addressing the areas for improvement that were previously identified" and "the trust and governors have not been rigorous enough when holding school leaders to account for improving the quality of education". It goes on to say that "leaders have not designed a well-planned curriculum to help pupils develop their knowledge in the range of subjects they study.

"There is not a clear, consistent approach for pupils to develop and practise their skills and knowledge."

The report adds that "many of the subject leaders are new to their roles and have not been given enough support and training to be able to lead their subjects well".

Although the inspector's report states that children who attend nursery and reception get off to a good start, where they are well looked after and achieve well, "this is not always the case for pupils in other areas of the school".

According to Ofsted, pupils in Key Stage 1 and 2 "are not making enough progress in reading, writing or mathematics; the quality of education is not good enough pupils to do well enough".

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In terms of test results, Ofsted say "pupils have not achieved well in their tests at the end of key stages; the achievement of pupils has been in the bottom 20 per cent of all schools nationally in reading and maths".

It adds "teaching does not enable pupils to learn and remember information well enough, pupils are not prepared well enough for the demands of secondary school and some pupils do not engage in their learning and end up misbehaving or distracting others in lessons".

While the report says "leaders have undertaken a great deal of work to improve the support that children with special educational needs receive, there is not enough being done to ensure that they can learn effectively in all subjects".

To improve, Ofsted say that governors need to "review their own processes and procedures so that they better monitor the impact of school improvement" and that "they must make sure that leaders are tackling weaknesses in the education of its pupils.

"Leaders need to be persistent in tackling some specific incidents of poor behaviour from a small number of Key Stage 2 pupils" and "leaders must make sure that incidents of low-level disruption are reduced.

"They need to train teachers to develop consistency and coherence in behaviour management" and "it is recommended that the school should not appoint newly qualified teachers".

The report does however state a number of strengths, including that the headteacher "has made the personal development of pupils one of her main aims; she is adamant that pupils should be given every opportunity to understand life in the wider world, diversity, faith and culture.

"There has been a drive to ensure that pupils have opportunities to develop skills which interest them some pupils are now having individual music tuition.

The report adds that safeguarding throughout the school "is a top priority; staff have a clear understanding of the needs of pupils within their care. They are vigilant and can act swiftly if concerns are raised".

The Active Learning Trust has since said that they "have a plan in place to develop strong and lasting improvements in the school and ensure aspirations are raised for Kingsfield's children".

On her appointment The Active Learning Trust described Mrs Pritchard, who was previously the headteacher at Earith Primary School, as being "passionate about high quality primary education and ensuring that all children have the opportunity to fulfil thier potential".

Mrs Pritchard will leave the school - which has 470 pupils aged two to 11 - in Easter and be temporarily replaced by Toni Jackson who, say the ACLT, "has a strong and proven track record of working with Kingsfield, the Trust and also leading rural and inner-city schools in similar circumstances".

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