Primary schools told to improve but Covid learning praised

Ofsted inspector in classroom

The Norman CofE Primary School and Yaxham Primary have been told to make further improvements by Ofsted. - Credit: PA

Two Norfolk primary schools have been told they need to further improve but have been praised for the way pupils learnt during the Covid pandemic. 

The Norman Church of England Primary in Northwold, near Mundford, and Yaxham Primary, near Dereham, were subject to Ofsted remote monitoring inspections carried out in March.

Inspectors said both had “taken effective action to provide education in the current circumstances”.

The Norman school was praised for staff making regular phone calls to all pupils to check on their welfare, to keep an eye on how well pupils were learning and, where children were not engaging, to provide additional support.

The Norman Church of England Primary in Northwold

The Norman Church of England Primary in Northwold. - Credit: Google

The Yaxley inspection occurred when all pupils were learning remotely due to the whole school ‘bubble’ having been sent home due to a Covid outbreak. 

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But the school had provided ‘live’ online sessions to support pupils’ wellbeing, provided laptops and even set up a ‘shed’ library to allow pupils to continue reading.

Both schools had previously been told to improve the quality of education following Ofsted inspections in 2019. 

Inspectors said of the Norman school, which was rated as ‘requires improvement’ in both 2019 and 2017, that education targets were not being met and teaching was inconsistent.

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Following the latest inspection, Ofsted’s Isabel Davis said the school was developing a new curriculum to improve pupils mastering the basics in reading, writing and maths.

But in a report to executive headteacher Owen Rhodes, she added: “Leaders said that their progress in checking the curriculum in subjects other than mathematics and English has been delayed due to Covid-19.”

At Yaxley Primary inspectors in 2019 had said too few pupils were “making good progress across the curriculum because the quality of teaching is not consistently good”.

Following the latest inspection Ofsted said the school was in the process of reviewing the curriculum in all subjects, focusing on English and maths first, but progress had been "slowed by Covid-19".

Yaxham Primary School.

Yaxham Church of England Primary School. - Credit: Archant

But in her report inspector Maureen Su said: “The curriculum plans do not all identify the key knowledge pupils need to know.

"Subject leaders have not received sufficient training to ensure they can carry out their role effectively... and are not consistently checking how well pupils are doing throughout the school in their subject areas.”

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