New head urgently needed for Narborough school - Ofsted

A primary school placed on special measures last year urgently needs a new headteacher, according to Ofsted inspectors.

Teaching at Narborough Primary, near Swaffham, was found to be 'inadequate' during its last inspection in July when the former headteacher retired along with two long-standing members of staff.

Governors have since appointed Andrew Haynes as acting headteacher and employed two full-time teachers and a part-time teacher who carries out one-to-one tuition with pupils.

Ofsted carried out its first monitoring inspection on January 19 and found that while 'satisfactory' progress had been made in the last seven months, a permanent headteacher was needed to drive this forward.

A partnership with a nearby school is being investigated by Norfolk County Council after there were no applicants the first time the post was advertised and only one on the second occasion, who accepted a post elsewhere before the interview.

'The local authority is working with the governors to find a substantive headteacher for the school,' the monitoring report said. 'This needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency so that the improvements the school has made continue and become fully embedded in day-to-day practice.'

Inspectors found the 'considerable improvement' in the quality of teaching was raising attainment in all subjects across the board.

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'However because of the previously inadequate teaching there are gaps in pupils' knowledge, skills and understanding and therefore a legacy of underachievement,' the report states.

Pupils' behaviour was 'good' and attendance 'above average,' it said.

There was criticism, however, of the lack of progress shown by the school governors. 'The governors have not yet fully taken on board their role in monitoring and evaluating the work of the school,' the report said. 'There is no evidence that their performance has improved and this remains inadequate.'

Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services at the county council, said: 'This is a largely positive report which shows Narborough Primary School moving in the right direction.

'We have been providing the school with considerable support and welcome Ofsted's judgment that teaching and leadership have improved. The school has a strong acting headteacher in post and some talented teachers who are helping to raise standards.

'We are committed to ensuring the school continues to have effective leadership in place and are confident that Mr Haynes will carry on driving the school forward in the short term.

'In the longer term, we are exploring a range of options, including partnership with a neighbouring school. However, this is at a very early stage.'