Headteacher says ‘no surprises’ in Ofsted report that rates Northamptonshire school as ‘requires improvement’

He put the Ofsted rating down to the ‘limited availability of suitably experienced staff.’

By Megan Hillery
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 8:55 am

The headteacher of a Northamptonshire school has said that a recent Ofsted rating of ‘requires improvement’ is “not indicative of a school in decline.”

The Flore Church of England Primary School was inspected by Ofsted in March and the report – published on May 4 - found that it needed to improve in four out of five areas including the quality of education, leadership and management and early years provision.

Headteacher, Ian Heard, said he is “pleased” with many of the comments included in the report.

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Ofsted found that the Flore Church of England Primary School 'requires improvement' in its latest report.

He said: “Although the judgement is fair, it is not indicative of a school in decline but a reflection of a school on a rapid upward trajectory. The report acknowledges that parents recognise that the school is improving.”

The Ofsted report describes the school as “a small, friendly school where everyone is welcome” and pupils as “polite and well mannered.”

Pupils told Ofsted inspectors: “It won’t take you long to fit in,” and one parent said, “my child goes to school with a smile and comes out with an even bigger smile.”

Inspectors, however, found that not all pupils demonstrate the high standards of behaviour expected of them and teachers sometimes do not break knowledge into small enough steps for pupils finding subjects difficult.

Mr Heard claims that staffing has had a major impact on the school’s development. He said: “We have been impacted by challenging staff recruitment and the limited availability of suitably experienced staff to take on key support roles.

“We have, however, been successful in employing three additional support staff who will be starting with us shortly. We have also procured an increase in SEND support from our partner school.

“Where concerns over behaviour for learning were raised, these have quickly been addressed. After a year of budgetary constraints, our new budget will allow us to put in place the necessary training to ensure that all staff have the knowledge and skills required to lead their subjects confidently.”

Ofsted raised concerns about early stage pupils not practising sounding out words often enough, learning not being sufficiently planned and routines not being established.

Mr Heard said the school is currently implementing a new phonics programme and redesigning their curriculum, which he says will be fully implemented in the new academic year.

He added that the school has completed an early years’ classroom redesign and children have “enjoyed” getting used to the new learning space.

Ofsted did note that leaders have provided “stability and direction” to the school and commended teachers promoting a love of reading and additional support provided to pupils with SEND.

Mr Heard told this newspaper that the school has been supporting several Afghanistan families, who he says have “been accepted by the whole school community.”

The last full Ofsted inspection of the Flore Church of England Primary School took place in 2011 and rated the school as ‘good’. A subsequent short inspection of the school in 2016 found it continued to be ‘good’.

Reflecting on the latest rating, Mr Heard said: “For us as leaders, there were no surprises in this report. It was a true reflection of the journey the school has been on and where the school currently is in its improvement journey.”