Special measures for “inadequate” Watton Junior school

Watton Junior School is in special measures. Watton Junior School is in special measures.

Thursday, December 19, 2013
11:49 AM

A failing Watton school has been put on special measures three months before it becomes an academy.

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Ofsted inspectors have downgraded Watton Junior’s overall effectiveness from “satisfactory” to “inadequate” – the lowest available rating.

The Ofsted report criticises the quality of teaching and says “pupils have not made the progress they should in reading, writing and mathematics”.

And children who speak English as an additional language make better progress than other pupils, especially in reading and writing, according to the report – because of the support they receive in small groups.

Inspectors say the school needs to ensure the quality of teaching is consistently good, raise attainment in English and maths, and strengthen its leadership, adding that they will monitor the situation closely.

However the report does praise recent changes made to the leadership team which are “beginning to have a positive impact in supporting teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning”.

Wayland Academy’s headteacher Michael Rose has been appointed as the junior school’s executive since the former headteacher’s long-term sick leave and Nicola Kaye, also from Wayland, has been seconded as head of teaching and learning.Mr Rose said the “journey of improvement” was well under way, adding: “We have a committed teaching staff who are working incredibly hard to improve outcomes for all of our pupils.”

But according to the report too many pupils are leaving with levels below what is expected for their age and “move to the next stage of their education without the knowledge and skills they need in literacy and numeracy”.

The report notes there is insufficient challenge for more-able pupils in most lessons and in some classes children rely too much on guidance from adults.

But the school’s leadership and governors say they are confident that the academy status, set to begin on April 1, will bring additional expertise and support to make sure improvements will be “effective and sustainable”. Inspectors say the new staff appointments have already bred a “positive climate” in the school but add that, because of the school’s past, achievement varies from year to year.

When the school becomes an academy it will join the Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) Group, a recently-established partnership between Wayland Academy, City College Norwich, City Academy Norwich, and Norfolk University Technical College.

As an academy it will be publicly-funded but operate outside local authority control, meaning it will have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, curriculum and staff pay and conditions.




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