Efforts to “arrest the decline” at Lancastrian Infants have been praised by Ofsted – but the school has still been told to improve.
A report from inspector Julie Sackett, which was published on May 2, said “substantial improvements” had been made to the quality of teaching and learning as well as pupils’ behaviour in the past two terms.
Rating the school ‘requires improvement’ in all areas, she pointed out that those improvements were “too recent” to fully address gaps in children’s knowledge and understanding.
Those gaps, which Ms Sackett put down to “historic weaknesses in teaching”, saw pupils underachieve at the end of Year 2, with outcomes in 2016 being much lower than the national averages in reading, writing and maths.
She acknowledged there had been numerous changes in teaching staff in recent years and that “inconsistencies in policies and procedures” had delayed the necessary improvements.
But she added: “The school is now benefiting from a more settled phase. The school has a cohesive, purposeful atmosphere.”
Some of the changes for the better became clear during the inspection when pupils demonstrated how much they enjoyed reading and spoke “with interest” about their favourite books.
Ms Sackett said: “They are proud of how well they are getting on with their reading and are keen to do well.”
Consultant headteacher Jill Dyson and interim headteacher Zoe Gordon were credited with establishing “a stronger sense of urgency” at Lancastrian, which had helped things progress quickly. In a statement, they said they planned to “act quickly” on the recommendations made by Ms Sackett. They added: “Following some recent unsettled times at Lancastrian, we are pleased that Ofsted recognised the progress that the school is making.”
Gary Ewins, chair of governors, said: “This Ofsted report has confirmed that we have the right priorities. The governors have been very pleased with the progress that the school has made since November.”
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