‘Inadequate’ primary schools praised for addressing serious failings

Opening of Antingham and Southrepps Primary School library. Author Alexander Gordon Smith talking to

Opening of Antingham and Southrepps Primary School library. Author Alexander Gordon Smith talking to the pupils.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Two Norfolk primary schools have been praised for making steps towards the improvement of ‘inadequate’ ratings. 

The Fen Rivers Academy in King’s Lynn and Antingham and Southrepps Primary School in North Norfolk were subject to Ofsted remote monitoring inspections carried out in June.

Inspectors said they had taken “effective action” towards addressing serious weaknesses and the removal of special measures.

Fen Rivers Academy in King's Lynn.

Fen Rivers Academy in King's Lynn. - Credit: Google

Fen Rivers Academy was praised for taking a “positive approach” to improving behaviour while some pupil’s attendance has “improved enormously” and there is now an increased emphasis on academic learning. 

The Antingham and Southrepps inspection was the first monitoring visit since the school became subject to special measures following an inspection in January 2020.

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But the arrival of the new head of school has “brought a renewed sense of purpose and direction to the school”.

Both schools had previously been told to improve the quality of education following Ofsted inspections. 

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Inspectors in 2019 said attendance at the Fen River Academy was low, pupils’ behaviour was not managed consistently well and too often youngsters were bored with leaders not rigorously monitoring academic achievement.

Following the third subsequent monitoring visit, Ofsted’s Wendy Varney said the school had placed more emphasis on improving the curriculum.

But in a report to headteacher Amanda Fewkes, she added: “The curriculum needs further development. Leaders have not yet identified the most crucial knowledge and skills that pupils need to remember. 

“The small steps that build to larger pieces of knowledge, or more complicated skills, have not been thought through for all subjects.”

There are still “notable weaknesses” in the teaching of early reading, she added.

Antingham and Southrepps Primary School. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Opening new facilities at Antingham and Southrepps Primary School. - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

At Antingham and Southrepps inspectors in 2020 had said the curriculum across Key Stages 1 and 2 was “weak and disjointed” with poor planning in most subjects.

Following the latest inspection Ofsted said pupils’ behaviour is improving and teachers have high expectations for pupils with areas for improvement identified at the previous inspection now being tackled in a methodical way. 

In his report inspector Steve Mellors said: “There is a positive team spirit. Staff now have a clearer understanding of successful learning. This is based upon a shared vision driven by the head of school.”

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