Younger pupils’ progress is ‘slow’ at school put in spe­cial mea­sures

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS - Ab­bie Wightwick ab­[email protected]­line.co.uk

A LLANELLI pri­mary school where in­spec­tors found “nearly all younger pupils make slow progress de­vel­op­ing their skills in lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy” has been put in spe­cial mea­sures.

Pen­tip Vol­un­tary Aided Church in Wales Pri­mary is a “very car­ing school” where pupils feel sup­ported, but stan­dards across the board are not good enough, warns a re­port from ed­u­ca­tion watch­dog Estyn.

There are enough staff to de­liver the cur­ricu­lum but it is not be­ing done well enough and im­prove­ments are needed across all ar­eas looked at, in­spec­tors found.

Many pupils who are more able do not achieve as well as they could, the re­port says, adding: “Many pupils in the Foundation Phase (aged four to seven) make slow progress in learn­ing let­ters and sounds.

“As a re­sult, they make in­con­sis­tent progress in read­ing.”

On top of this, in­spec­tors found: “Adults’ sub­ject knowl­edge is not al­ways se­cure enough to en­able pupils to make good progress, for ex­am­ple in read­ing.”

Stan­dards, lead­er­ship and man­age­ment, teach­ing and learn­ing experience­s were all judged un­sat­is­fac­tory and in need of ur­gent im­prove­ment by Estyn while well­be­ing and at­ti­tudes to learn­ing and care, sup­port and guid­ance were deemed ad­e­quate but in need of im­prove­ment.

Around 18% of the 156 pupils aged four to 11 are el­i­gi­ble for free school meals, which is in line with the av­er­age for Wales.

A fur­ther 23% have spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs, which is slightly higher than av­er­age.

Most pupils are white Bri­tish, “very few” speak Welsh at home and a few speak English as a sec­ond lan­guage.

The re­port adds that pupils feel safe, en­joy com­ing to school, are po­lite and want to do well: “This is a very car­ing school where nearly all pupils feel happy and safe. They are cheer­ful and po­lite and play and work to­gether har­mo­niously.

“Pupils’ be­hav­iour in classes and around the school is good. Most pupils work hard and are keen to do well.

“Most pupils’ progress ac­cel­er­ates in up­per key stage 2 (years 5 and 6) but be­cause their ear­lier progress is slow, many pupils do not make good enough progress from their start­ing points. This is es­pe­cially the case for pupils who are more able.”

On teach­ing, in­spec­tors add: “The qual­ity of teach­ing is vari­able and, in a ma­jor­ity of classes, teach­ers do not chal­lenge pupils at an ap­pro­pri­ate level.

“Over­all, lead­ers and man­agers do not mon­i­tor stan­dards of teach­ing and learn­ing rig­or­ously enough. Cur­rently, they do not demon­strate the ca­pac­ity to bring about nec­es­sary im­prove­ments.”

“Over-di­rec­tion of learn­ing by adults leads to lim­ited pupil progress. Op­por­tu­ni­ties for pupils to en­gage in high qual­ity ac­tiv­i­ties that de­velop their in­de­pen­dent learn­ing are lim­ited, the qual­ity of many ac­tiv­i­ties is poor.”

Putting the school in spe­cial mea­sures, Estyn made seven rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing to raise pupils’ stan­dards in writ­ing and nu­mer­acy across the cur­ricu­lum and to im­prove teach­ing by rais­ing teach­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tions of what pupils can achieve.

The school will now draw up an action plan to show how it is go­ing to ad­dress the rec­om­men­da­tions.

Pic­ture: Google Maps

Pen­tip Vol­un­tary Aided Church in Wales Pri­mary School, in Llanelli.

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