Of­sted says school plan is ‘not fit for pur­pose’

Head ‘shocked’ by re­ac­tion but says changes cur­rently be­ing made to sat­isfy watch­dog

Aldershot News & Mail - - NEWS -

SCHOOL that was rated as ‘in­ad­e­quate’ by ed­u­ca­tion watch­dogs ear­lier this year lacks an ac­cept­able im­prove­ment plan.

Guille­mont Ju­nior School in Farn­bor­ough re­ceived the low­est rat­ing from Of­sted in May. Last Mon­day, the first mon­i­tor­ing in­spec­tion re­port since the school was judged to have se­ri­ous weak­nesses, was pub­lished.

It said that head­teacher De­nis Fos­ter had adapted the school ac­tion plan to ad­dress the re­quired ar­eas for im­prove­ment and was work­ing closely with Niki South, the deputy head­teacher, to make the nec­es­sary changes. How­ever it was not ‘fit for pur­pose’.

Louise Adams, in­spec­tor and au­thor of the re­port, said: “Although the im­prove­ment plan is clear and de­tailed, it is not yet fit for pur­pose be­cause it is not ex­plicit enough about the in­tended im­pact on pupils’ learn­ing.

“This means that teach­ers and lead­ers can­not see if what they are do­ing is mak­ing learn­ing bet­ter, and gov­er­nors can­not mon­i­tor the im­pact ef­fec­tively.”

Mrs Adams said the school in Sandy Lane was tak­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion to im­prove the qual­ity of teach­ing by eval­u­at­ing lessons reg­u­larly and meet­ing with teach­ers to in­form them of next steps, how­ever the work of mid­dle lead­ers re­mained un­der­de­vel­oped and most were not ef­fec­tive in help­ing the school to im­prove.

She said Mr Fos­ter and Ms South were tak­ing on too much them­selves and did not have ‘ suf­fi­cient sup­port’ on the ground to pro­mote the im­prove­ments needed.

Since its last in­spec­tion the school was now keep­ing thor­ough records of the mon­i­tor­ing tak­ing place and was us­ing a range of in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing plan­ning and mark­ing, to eval­u­ate teach­ers’ work.

How­ever, these eval­u­a­tions did not take enough ac­count of pupils’ progress.

In a let­ter to par­ents, Mr Fos­ter said: “The main pur­pose of the visit was to make a judge­ment about the school im­prove­ment plan.

“This had been writ­ten by my­self, the deputy, the lead­ing learn­ing part­ner and had in­put from the school’s district man­ager.

“It was re­viewed by the gov­er­nors and in ad­di­tion, it was re­viewed pos­i­tively at a meet­ing at­tended by the area direc­tor of ed­u­ca­tion.

“I was there­fore shocked that Her Majesty’s in­spec­torate said it was not fit for pur­pose de­spite be­ing clearer and de­tailed.

“It needed, in her opinion, to be more ex­plicit about the im­pact it would have on learn­ing and more clear for teach­ers and other lead­ers about what they needed to do to make learn­ing bet­ter.

“Her sug­ges­tion was that it needed a ‘tweak’. We have there­fore re­sponded to this and we are cur­rently wait­ing for feed­back from her.”

Mr Fos­ter said his staff ‘eval­u­ate thor­oughly and fo­cus on pupil progress’ and they will en­sure that all their records re­flect this fact.

Since the in­spec­tion, there has been ex­ten­sive in­di­vid­ual train­ing pro­grammes for mid­dle lead­ers and they are de­vel­op­ing their lead­er­ship skills, Mr Fos­ter added.

“I am bet­ter sup­ported by them now and am con­fi­dent that they all un­der­stand their roles and will be able to sup­port me ‘on the ground’ much more ef­fec­tively from the start of the next aca­demic year.”

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