‘Inadequate’ school in special measures

PROBLEMS: Glemsford Primary School has been criticised by Ofsted.
PROBLEMS: Glemsford Primary School has been criticised by Ofsted.
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Glemsford Primary School has been given Ofsted’s lowest rating and placed under special measures to help it improve.

The school was inspected in September and a report to be published early next week has criticised the quality of teaching, pupils’ achievement and management of the school as “inadequate”, with pupils’ behaviour rated “good”.

The report, by lead inspector Steven Hill, said assessment information for pupils was inaccurate and their progress needed improving.

“Pupils for whom the school receives Pupil Premium funding (for children eligible for free meals or in local authority care) did exceptionally badly,” he said.

Teachers were criticised for a lack of training, variable marking and poor pacing of lessons, although improvements were being made.

Mr Hill stated: “The new headteachers have introduced good systems and structures that provide the school with a secure basis for going forward.

“However, as most staff in the school lack the experience and expertise to drive forward improvements, the plans rely strongly on external support.”

The school, which has 157 pupils, was rated “satisfactory” during its previous inspection in June 2011.

Mr Hill’s report acknowledged “major disruptions to staffing in the last 18 months” after three teachers left in the summer of 2011, and the investigation into leases for 100 laptops which left the school owing £500,000 to Clydesdale Bank after the supplier went into liquidation.

Former headteacher Liz Steele was suspended a year ago and subsequently resigned, the board of governors was suspended and replaced by an interim executive board in July and Iain Birtwell and Philip Illsley were appointed joint headteachers in September, after two successive temporary heads.

Clare Farrant, previously headteacher at Crawford’s Primary School in Stowmarket, will take over from April.

Suffolk County Council was criticised for not providing enough support but the interim executive board was praised for monitoring and challenging the school, and teachers were said to be working hard to improve.

Acting headteacher Iain Birtwell said: “We’re pleased that Ofsted acknowledged that we have already identified the appropriate issues to work on and that the progress against these areas since the start of the school year was clearly evident and will now need to be embedded.”