Impact of headteacher’s death felt as Sudbury school is put into special measures

Pupils, staff and guests at the opening of Woodhall primary Schools new outdoor classroom which is memory of late headteacher Lesley Farrow. ANL-150923-124630001
Pupils, staff and guests at the opening of Woodhall primary Schools new outdoor classroom which is memory of late headteacher Lesley Farrow. ANL-150923-124630001
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The death of an inspirational headteacher has been highlighted after a Sudbury school was put into special measures by Ofsted inspectors.

Woodhall Community Primary School in Mayflower Way, Sudbury, was rated inadequate, the lowest of four categories, in three out of five key areas after an inspection on March 17-18 this year.

Lesley Farrow

Lesley Farrow

In July last year, the school was “rocked” by the death of headteacher Lesley Farrow, after she fell from her horse near her home in Bradfield Combust.

Published last week, a report by the five inspectors said the school had struggled with leadership in the past year.

It read: “The school has suffered a turbulent period with regard to staffing and leadership since the last inspection which affected the whole school community.

“This was coupled with other staffing changes and the expansion of the school to include pupils in Years 5 and 6. Over this period, leaders and governors have not remained focused on the quality of teaching and learning in the school.

“As a result, teaching has declined, pupils’ achievement is low and the school has gone from being a good school to one that is currently inadequate.

“A lack of shared leadership in the past has left the school floundering in the absence of a substantive headteacher.”

The school was given an inadequate rating for ‘leadership and management’, ‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’ and ‘outcomes for pupils’.

It was also told it required improvement for its ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’, only receiving a good rating for its ‘Early Years provision’.

Now overall rated inadequate, in its previous inspection in 2011 it was rated good.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “Governors and staff at Woodhall Primary School are naturally disappointed at the outcome of the recent Ofsted report.

“We are of course taking on board all of the Ofsted inspectors’ comments, and were already moving forward with an action plan prior to this inspection.

“The process of moving the school towards academy status is underway; a new substantive head teacher has also been appointed and will start in September.”

As well as positive feedback for the school’s Early Years provision, inspectors said the school worked well with the community, saying it was “seen as a haven of calm for pupils and their parents”.

However inspectors will expect to see improvements in assessment, teaching standards and expectations, and leadership.