Ofsted says school plan is ‘not fit for purpose’
Head ‘shocked’ by reaction but says changes currently being made to satisfy watchdog
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.”