Younger pupils’ progress is ‘slow’ at school put in special measures
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.
Pentip Voluntary Aided Church in Wales Primary School, in Llanelli.