School leaders ‘try to do too much at once’, says Ofsted

Causeway School, Larkspur Drive, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-161013-101410008
Causeway School, Larkspur Drive, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-161013-101410008

Leaders at Causeway School have agreed there are areas which need to improve following an inspection by Ofsted.

A team of inspectors, led by Kathryn Moles , visited the school, in Larkspur Drive, for two days in September and their findings were published on October 14.

Rating Causeway ‘requires improvement’, Ms Moles’ recognised the efforts made by headteacher Gene Payne and his team to improve the school. But she said that improvement was impeded as leaders did not “evaluate the impact of actions quickly or carefully enough”.

She added: “ They try to do too much at once, rather than prioritising what makes the biggest difference to learning and progress.”

The school was rated ‘good’ at its last inspection in December 2010, but Mr Payne and his team were prepared for the lower rating, as they had come to the same conclusion during their self-evaluation prior to the inspection.

A statement from the school read: “There have been significant and positive changes to the school in recent years, many of which were recognised by Ofsted, however, governors, the senior leadership team and the headteacher agree there are areas in which the school needs to improve.”

Those improvements included the behaviour and attendance of the children, who were described in Ms Moles’ report as “respectful and courteous towards each other and their teachers”.

She added: “Parents, pupils and staff recognise the positive improvements to the school, particularly in relation to how pupils behave in lessons and around the school.”

The transformation of the school’s curriculum and learning culture was also highlighted, and Ms Moles’ report said the change had equipped the children “well for future learning”.

The quality of teaching, though, was described as “inconsistent across the school”.

The report stated: “Pupils currently at the school have not made consistently good progress over time because the quality of teaching is too variable. There is some strong teaching leading to good learning, but this is not consistent enough.

“Teachers’ expectations for pupil engagement are high, but not consistently challenging enough to secure strong and rapid progress.”

But the inspectors did acknowledge that pupils were “beginning to make more rapid progress, which is evident in the quality of their work”. The most able pupils were seen to feel “challenged by their work”.

A school spokesman said Mr Payne and his leadership team felt confident they could “continue the transformation started three years ago”.

As such, an interim executive board has been appointed, with the aim of ensuring the progress already made will “continue and intensify”.

The spokesman said the board had already managed to secure increased resources and support for the school.

Mr Payne said: “I recognise that, as headteacher, I have not secured improvements to pupil outcomes as quickly as needed.”

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