Third blow to education in Swaffham as junior school plunges into special measures

PUBLISHED: 09:09 01 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:09 01 May 2014

Swaffham Junior School

Swaffham Junior School

Archant © 2009

A junior school has been plunged into special measures – three years after it was judged “good” by Ofsted.

Swaffham Junior School was given the worst “inadequate” rating in all four areas marked by the inspectors, including quality of teaching and achievement of pupils.

The judgment is the third blow to education in the town in two years, and follows Swaffham Hamond’s High being judged “inadequate” in March 2012, and the infant school being told it “requires improvement” a year later.

Follow-up inspections have since noted positive progress at the infant school and the high school, which has since become an academy.

Criticisms of the junior school included not doing enough to tackle low attendance, a lack of rigour in recording safety checks, a decline in writing and maths since the previous inspection, and some pupils showing a lack of respect for staff.

The inspectors wrote: “The behaviour of pupils is inadequate. Teachers and support staff do not take enough responsibility for tackling poor behaviour in and around the school.”

They added: “In some lessons, pupils show little respect towards adults. There is backchat and often a failure to respond to direct requests from adults. This disturbs the activities for the other pupils and hinders progress.”

In a statement, headteacher Tracey McCarthy said: “We are disappointed in the overall conclusion of the report, though we note it recognises some of the challenges we face as a school and the steps we need to take to ensure rapid improvement for our pupils.

“We have ambitious staff and governors who are determined to take all necessary steps to improve teaching and learning and ensure our children achieve their potential.

“The school’s budget is healthy and we will use this to support improvements which will benefit every child.

“We are already working with the county council to make sure we quickly put in place measures to improve safeguarding arrangements. This has been our first priority and we have already addressed every issue highlighted in both our verbal and written feedback from the inspectors.”

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