Academy bid for North Pickenham school after Ofsted’s ‘special measures’ judgement

St Andrew C V Primary School, on South Pickenham Road in North Pickenham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

St Andrew C V Primary School, on South Pickenham Road in North Pickenham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A rural primary school could be the latest to join a chain of academies after it was put into special measures.

St Andrew's Primary School in North Pickenham has failed to improve on its previous 'requires improvement' assessment and now 'requires special measures', according to Ofsted inspectors.

The struggles faced by the school have been put down to a high turnover of staff.

School leaders have vowed that the South Pickenham Road school will continue to do its best for its pupils and the community, and that a bid has been made for the school to join the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT).

Headteacher Emily Gore-Rowe said: 'St Andrew's has a clear school improvement plan and we have been vigorously seeking to implement the plan since our last inspection.

'However, despite the best efforts of our staff and governors, several staffing issues beyond our control have undermined our actions and account for this disappointing Ofsted assessment. We note that it is clear throughout the report that Ofsted recognises that the high level of staff change was the reason for school improvement efforts not having the intended impact.'

She added: 'My staff and I, alongside the governors at St Andrew's will continue to go the 'extra-mile'. We are committed to improving our school, ensuring our pupils aim high and achieve well, developing and enriching the whole life of our school community.'

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Despite the special measures judgement, the inspection report from July's visit recognises the school's strengths, including better support for groups of pupils who were underachieving, improved support for disabled pupils, provision for pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and that safety has high priority.

The report also says 'staff are committed to the school's drive and vision' and that 'the headteacher's and governors' plans to improve the education provided by the school are based on the right priorities'.

Mike Simm, vice chair of governors, said: 'For several years the governors have been exploring how to ensure St Andrew's has a long-term future in a supportive environment that fits with our school's ethos. To that end, we have recently requested that we be allowed to become a DNEAT academy and so secure our school's future for the local community.'

Meetings for parents and carers of pupils are being held this week to share plans for the future of the school.

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