March merger primary school warned to improve by Ofsted as inspectors say “standards are too low”

Westwood Primary School requires improvement

Westwood Primary School requires improvement - Credit: Archant

A March primary school has been told by an education watchdog to improve as “standards are too low” – less than three years since it was merged with a neighbouring struggling school.

Westwood Community Primary School was given a glowing inspection in 2014, before taking over Maple Grove Infants School.

However, Oftsed say that the “quality of teaching across the school is not consistently good” and “significant challenges” have “hindered” leaders’ ability to improve standards rapidly.

Headteacher Gill Thomas said that the leadership team and the governors “agree fully” with the overall judgment.

The report saw the school ranked as requiring improvement in all five areas of inspection, including early years, quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils.

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It stated: “Although current pupils’ outcomes are improving, they are not yet good. Standards are too low in reading, writing and mathematics across key stages 1 and 2.

“The quality of teaching across the school is not consistently good. Not all teachers have high enough expectations of pupils’ learning or behaviour. Teachers do not consistently teach lessons that meet the needs and abilities of pupils, or maintain pupils’ interest.

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“Many middle leaders are relatively new to their roles. Consequently, they do not yet fully contribute in leading improvements within the school.”

However, the community school in Maple Grove was praised for its “positive working partnership with parents”.

It added: “The headteacher has set high expectations and has a clear focus on doing what is right for pupils and their families.”

Inspectors also collected views from parents who commented on the positive work the school had undertaken and said that their children felt “happy and safe”.

To improve following the current inspection, it was noted that the school needs to develop the skills of new middle leaders, accelerate pupils’ progress and improve early year’s provision.

Headteacher Ms Thomas said: “It might seem that the school has gone backwards since our previous inspection as Westwood Juniors in December 2014.

“However, as Westwood Primary we have been able to forge links with our neighbouring outstanding pre-school, establish relationships with our families much sooner, introduce and embed strategies to improve teaching and learning at a quicker pace.

“We are now working with families and children at an earlier age and for longer. This could not happen as a junior school. Westwood has not gone backwards.”

The inspection took place this May by lead inspector Fiona Webb.

The school has 713 pupils on its roll.

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