Ofsted report shocks Holbeach Bank Primary School

Holbeach Bank Primary School where staff and governors are "very shocked and saddened" by Ofsted's decision to put the school in special measures.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG071017-114TW.
Holbeach Bank Primary School where staff and governors are "very shocked and saddened" by Ofsted's decision to put the school in special measures. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG071017-114TW.
  • Special measures to take place due to ‘poor achievement of pupils’
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Senior staff and governors at Holbeach Bank Primary School are “very shocked and saddened” after Ofsted judged it to be “inadequate”.

A report published on Wednesday, based on a two-day inspection in July, claimed that governors and school leadership had “overseen the poor achivement of pupils for far too long”.

Governors were also accused of having “not held leaders to account for the lack of improvement” and for holding an “overgenerous view of the school”.

As a result, the school is likely to face another Ofsted inspection within the next three to six months and another, more detailed inspection within the next two years.

In a joint letter to parents, executive headteacher Christine Wright and chairman of governors Pastor Ross Dean said: “Staff, governors and professionals who work in or with our school do not recognise this as a true reflection of our work.

“We continue to be very shocked and saddened by the judgements made, especially as the inspection failed to recognise the many improvements made to our school over recent years, nor the improvement in progress across the school and in the end of key stage one outcomes in 2017.

The report fails to recognise the successes of the school as reflected in the significant increase in pupil numbers from 41 in 2013 to 69 in September 2017

Executive headteacher Christine Wright, Holbeach Bank Primary School

“Similarly, the inspection failed to recognise the issues we have faced with regard to staff recruitment and stability which have proved a key barrier to raising standards and moving the school forward.”

There was some good news for Holbeach Bank in that Ofsted judged the personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils to be good, along with its teaching of Reception Year children.

The report said the early years “learning environment is bright, welcoming and stimulating”, work was “well-matched to children’s abilities” and that children “make very good progress from their various starting points”.

An open afternoon is due to take place at the school on Thursday when staff and governors will meet with prospective parents and pupils.

Speaking to the Lincolnshire Free Press, Mrs Wright said: “Ofsted doesn’t recognise the unique nature of small schools and the report fails to recognise the successes of the school as reflected in the significant increase in pupil numbers from 41 in 2013 to 69 in September 2017.

“Our school improvement action plan, which reflects the commitment of all staff and governors to the school, will be achieved through working collaboratively with the many good and outstanding schools within our Holbeach partnership and, as in previous years, gaining support for school improvement at all levels.”

Ofsted’s report on Holbeach Bank Primary School includes from praise for pupils’ behaviour and parents’ enthusiasm for its early years education to strong criticism of teaching and learning.

The report said: “Over recent years, leaders have not done enough to tackle poor teaching and, consequently, too many pupils have not achieved as well as they should in reading, writing and mathematics.

“Leaders and the governing body do not have an accurate view of the school’s effectiveness so that their views of the pupils’ achievement and, therefore, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment are too generous.

“Over recent years, standards of attainment and rates of progress in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2 have been far too low.

“This historical underachievement means that pupils have not been prepared well for the next stage of their education.”

In contrast, the report acknowledged that senior staff have made the school’s curriculum “broad and balanced”, systems were in place to monitor poor behaviour by pupils and that they were “adequately prepared for life in modern Britain”.

The report continued: “The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good and they benefit greatly from educational visits.

In their joint letter to parents, executive headteacher Christine Wright and chairman of governors Pastor Ross Dean said: “We have great success in enabling all our pupils to access the national and wider school curriculum and all of our staff strive continually to remove barriers to learning for all our children: whether this be special educational needs, disability, health issues or attendance.”

Ofsted’s report on Holbeach Bank Primary School includes praise for pupils’ behaviour and parents’ enthusiasm for its early years education and strong criticism of teaching and learning.

The report said: “Over recent years, leaders have not done enough to tackle poor teaching and, consequently, too many pupils have not achieved as well as they should in reading, writing and mathematics.

“Leaders and the governing body do not have an accurate view of the school’s effectiveness so that their views of the pupils’ achievement and, therefore, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment are too generous.

“Over recent years, standards of attainment and rates of progress in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2 have been far too low.

“This historical underachievement means that pupils have not been prepared well for the next stage of their education.”

In contrast, the report acknowledged that senior staff have made the school’s curriculum “broad and balanced”, systems were in place to monitor poor behaviour by pupils and that they were “adequately prepared for life in modern Britain”.

The report continued: “The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good and they benefit greatly from educational visits.

In their joint letter to parents, executive headteacher Christine Wright and chairman of governors Pastor Ross Dean said: “We have great success in enabling all our pupils to access the national and wider school curriculum and all of our staff strive continually to remove barriers to learning for all our children: whether this be special educational needs, disability, health issues or attendance.”

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