July 30 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, July 21, 2012
A CLOUD looks set to be lifted from a Great Yarmouth junior school after two monitoring Ofsted inspections and better than predicted test results.
St Nicholas Priory Junior School was placed in special measures, the lowest possible category, last October triggering a rigorous complaint from the head who took issue with the findings which rated it inadequate overall and said it had no capacity to improve.
Mark Adams, a head of 20 years who in an earlier report was praised for his relentless focus on improvement, is now confident that after a year of scrutiny inspectors will decide the school no longer needs to be in special measures.
He says the year six SATS results - which he predicted would be good more than a year ago - prove the school was already making the rapid progress Ofsted said it wasn’t, and had continued to improve during the last year.
This year 73pc of children achieved level four in both English and maths, compared to 59pc last year just missing the Government’s “floor standard” of 60pc. The number of children making at least two levels progress from level two to level four was also much improved with 25pc achieving level five and a handful more level six.
Mr Adams said: “For the first time in the history of the school we have exceeded all the floor standards. The most disappointing thing is that we knew this was going to happen. It was an unfair inspection and I remain really angry and disappointed. We have complained on many occasions and over the 12 months we have had some small victories. The children have made rapid progress and in 2008 we were good with outstanding features.
“However, I am confident the inspector was really pleased with what we are doing. His report is very positive.
“It is frustrating because the teachers have worked hard across year groups and the results are very encouraging across the school. The standard of work in the children’s books is very good. They are presenting it very well and writing more.”
The results have yet to nationally verified but Mr Adams is hopeful that following the next full inspection the school can shake off its inadequate tag by showing it has made drastic progress against the three key issues of attainment, teaching and management.
He paid tribute to the “tremendous” support of parents, governors and teachers none of whom had turned their backs on the school.
“Special measures is not just that you are inadequate but that you do not have the potential to improve. But quite clearly we did. Being placed in the category was a huge personal blow after such a good inspection in 2008 and continuing to improve everything after that.
“The inspector said he would take us out of special measures if the results were as we predicted - and we already know we have exceeded on those - and if the teaching continues to improve.”