Shropshire Star

Primary school leaders praised for recent work despite Ofsted's 'requires improvement' grade

A primary school near Shrewsbury has been told that it ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted, despite the school’s leaders receiving praise for their recent work.

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Ofsted rated the school good in three out of five categories.

Longden CofE Primary School was inspected last month with three of the five key areas were graded ‘good’.

However, the quality of education and early years provision was found to ‘require improvement’ resulting in the same ‘overall effectiveness’ rating.

The village primary school located five miles outside Shrewsbury and has 150 pupils aged between two and 11 on roll.

“Pupils are polite, happy and safe at this welcoming school,” found the inspectors. “They enjoy learning and are proud of their achievements.

“Relationships are a strength of the school. Older pupils organise and play games with younger children at playtimes. Older pupils are seen and act as role models. Similarly, adults care about pupils.

“Pupils behave well and say both bullying and disruptive behaviour are rare.”

Inspectors also praised the school for ‘raising the expectations of what pupils can achieve’.

They added that the school’s leaders ‘have acted quickly’ to put in place a curriculum that is ‘ambitious and reflects the national curriculum’.

They also said that school leaders had worked with parents and carers to ‘significantly improved attendance'.

However, the inspectors highlighted the quality of education as an area which ‘requires improvement'.

“Pupils achieve well in English and mathematics,” the inspectors found, adding: “The curriculum in subjects other than English and mathematics is not coherently planned and sequenced and leaders are at an early stage of identifying the most important knowledge that pupils need to learn.

“This means that pupils do not develop a deep enough understanding and do not learn as well as they could. Leaders should ensure that pupils’ learning in all subjects is well sequenced so that teaching helps pupils to know and remember more over time

“The use of assessment in subjects other than English and mathematics is at an early stage of development. This means that teachers and subject leaders are not clear about what pupils understand and remember, or what gaps in learning pupils have.

“Leaders should ensure that assessment is used effectively to identify gaps in pupils’ knowledge and use this information to plan next steps in learning.”

Inspectors praised the school’s new leaders for the ‘rapidly improved’ school curriculum and said that ‘there is a shared drive to improve the school’.

“Leaders have quickly identified areas that needed strengthening and put actions in place to do this,” they added.

“Leaders are still in the process of identifying the precise knowledge that they want the pupils to know and remember. Teaching does not always build on what pupils can already do or address gaps in their knowledge.

“Teachers do not systematically check what pupils can and cannot do. This means gaps and misconceptions remain unchecked.”

The Ofsted inspections also praised the relationships across early years as being ‘strong’ but said that the curriculum ‘lacks precision for some children’.

“It is not clear what the children should learn and when,” Ofsted concluded.

“Activities do not have a clear intent, which means opportunities are missed to develop children’s knowledge and skills.

“The early years curriculum does not identify and order the precise knowledge and skills that children need to know across the whole early years phase.

“Children in early years do not make a quick enough start in learning to read. This means children do not progress as well as they could. Leaders should ensure that children in Reception make a quicker start learning to read.”

Longden CofE Primary School has been approached for comment.

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