Eastbourne junior school receives ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted

An Eastbourne junior school has received an ‘inadequate’ rating after its most recent Ofsted inspection.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 4:17 pm
Stafford Junior School in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160818-083651008

An Eastbourne junior school has received an ‘inadequate’ rating after its most recent Ofsted inspection.

The watchdog’s report for Stafford Junior School, in Ringwood Road, was published on May 19 after an inspection which took place on January 28 and 29.

The main takeaways from the report include poor behaviour from some pupils and a lack of effective and consistent strategies to deal with this from staff, subsequently affecting others’ opportunities to learn.

Stafford Junior School in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160817-225112008

An Ofsted spokesperson said in the report, “Pupils’ learning is often disrupted by boisterous and, at times, unruly behaviour.

“Adults are not clear and consistent in how they expect pupils to behave and this can be unsettling for all. While some pupils feel confident to express their ideas in the classroom, others are less sure because they worry about what others might say.”

It means the school has fallen from its previous rating of ‘good’, which was issued by Ofsted in 2016.

The report goes on to say, “Frequent changes in leadership have led to this school failing. Over time, successive leaders have tried a number of strategies to improve pupils’ education but have not implemented these fully.

“As a result, some teachers are confused about leaders’ expectations, while others choose not to follow them.

“Leaders and those responsible for governance have not challenged staff about this and therefore Stafford Junior School is not providing an acceptable and equal standard of education for all.”

The report says many pupils do not achieve as well as they should and ‘too few’ pupils leave well prepared for secondary school.

Interim executive Headteacher Kyra Siddall-Ward responded to the report and said she recognised the need to change and outlined how the school plans to do that.

She said, “Everyone involved in the running of Stafford Junior School was disappointed with the Ofsted judgements but fully recognised the need to change and improve things. We’re making improvements in several ways.

“Governors worked with the local authority to swiftly secure an Interim Executive Board to support the school.

“The board is made up of people with experience in school improvement, finance and HR. Its chair, Penny Gaunt, has a strong track record of securing rapid improvement for schools in challenging circumstances.”

She said that since becoming interim executive Headteacher in April 2020 there has been an immediate focus on addressing the priorities for improvement and a ‘clear plan of action’ is in place to ensure improvement work is completed by the end of the summer term.

She outlined what actions have already been taken to improve the school.

The interim Headteacher said, “Sharply focussed professional development for staff has been achieved remotely and the school now has a coherent and sequenced curriculum.

“We have reviewed how we teach pupils to read, and a clearly planned and consistent approach is now in place.

“We have bought a range of new books and reading material and professional development in reading, phonics and spelling is planned for staff in the term ahead.

“A review of the behaviour policy has already seen a change in the culture within the school. Whilst in its infancy, the new policy clearly lays out the expectations for pupils and for staff and it has worked very effectively with pupils in school during lockdown.”

The interim Headteacher said staff are looking forward to implementing the new approach into all their classrooms on their return to school.

She added that communication has been a ‘priority’ during lockdown to make sure parents and carers are ‘well informed’, which is ‘vital’ to help the school progress.

She said, “We are very grateful to parents and carers for their support and understanding as we work together to be the best we can.”

To view the report in full, visit https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/21/114469

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