Shropshire Star

Formerly 'Outstanding' Telford school admits it is 'under no illusions' as Ofsted downgrades it

A Telford school formerly rated as 'Outstanding' says it is "under no illusions" it has a long way to go to make improvements after being downgraded by Ofsted.

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Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge Church of England School in Telford

On September 23, inspectors from the educational watchdog visited Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge Church of England Primary School in Telford.

The school was last inspected in 2011 when it was given an 'Outstanding' rating, but following September's visit inspectors have downgraded the school to 'Requires Improvement'.

The school admits that in the 12 years between inspections, there had been "many changes" at both the school and "how Ofsted inspections are carried out".

Inspectors said that in recent years, governors at Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge had "not supported leaders well enough" and that the governors were "too focused on day-to-day activities and not maintaining a strategic oversight of the school".

The Ofsted inspectors also said that "relationships with some staff, parents and carers are, at times, fragile because of the many changes that have happened [in the school] over recent years".

However, the inspectors acknowledged the progress that is being made at the school to address its issues.

The Ofsted inspectors also found that pupils felt "happy and safe" and that they "generally behave well" and were "proud of their school" and that they "relish the many roles and responsibilities they take on, such as bullying ambassadors, play monitors and value ambassadors".

Ofsted also reported that the curriculum at the school has undergone a period of development and that the teaching of reading and mathematics is now "stronger" as a result.

The inspectors also noted that a "strong safeguarding culture"’ is now in place across the school, with an inclusive culture established for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) where there is early identification so support can be put in place.

Headteacher, Mrs Mandy Dhaliwal, said the school was under "no illusions" that it still had a "long way to go".

She said: “It had been more than a decade since the school’s last inspection and we have been working very hard to make improvements here for some time, as we had acknowledged the school has changed significantly over the years, including through the difficult Covid period.

“It is very pleasing to read that inspectors could see the positive progress being made here and our staff deserve recognition for the hard work they are doing. We are under no illusions that there is still a long way to go, but the school is definitely moving in the right direction in all areas.

“While the areas for improvement are clear, it was nice to read that our children were found to feel happy and safe, and that they are clearly kind and caring.

"These comments are no surprise and will only serve to motivate everyone here to strive even harder for the improvements that need to be made. We are absolutely committed to providing all our children with the high standard of education they deserve.”