Watton Junior School on special measures

Parents are right to be disappointed at their children's low achievements at a Breckland school, according to inspectors who have placed it on special measures.

In a report published last week, Watton Junior School was given an 'inadequate' grading after assessors found the standard of education was not up to scratch.

Last night the school admitted the report by Ofsted was 'disappointing' but said staff and governors were committed to turning the situation around.

The inspectors' verdict centred around concerns that children at the Brandon Road school were not making enough progress and the quality of teaching varied too much from class to class.

The report also said the school's governing body was not sufficiently involved, meaning it had only a basic knowledge of what needed to improve.

Lead inspector Terry Elston said: 'The school's evaluation of its own effectiveness is inaccurate, and fails to pinpoint important weaknesses in pupils' attainment and progress.

'This, together with low staff morale, explains why the school does not have the capacity to make the necessary improvements.'

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A county headteacher has been brought in while headteacher Patrick Whitty, who was away at the time of the December inspection, is on sick leave. A new head of governors has also recently been appointed.

In response to the report Watton Junior School released a statement. It said: 'This is a disappointing report which reflects the challenging situation the school faced at the end of last year. However, we now have an experienced county headteacher in post and a new governing body.

'Together, we are committed to making the improvements and changes necessary to ensure our pupils are benefiting from the good education they deserve.'

Ofsted said children tended to 'lose ground' as they moved through the school, with writing skills in particular progressing slowly, while teachers aimed work at those of average ability leaving brighter children unchallenged and others struggling to keep up.

The report added: 'Parents and carers are rightly disappointed at their children's low achievements.'

But the inspectors found progress in year 6 was much better, where teachers' expectations were higher.

Watton Junior said: 'We need and want this to be the case across the school and will be working with staff to ensure that they have the guidance and support necessary to improve learning.'

The school was praised for its focus on healthy lifestyles - which was given a good rating - while inspectors recognised pupils behaved well, felt safe and enjoyed their time there.

The school will now be placed on special measures and will receive extra help to get it back on track as well as regular inspections.

There are now six schools on special measures in Norfolk: Watton Junior; Queensway Community Junior, Thetford; Greenacre Primary, Great Yarmouth; King George VI School, Great Bircham; Narborough CE VC Primary; Peterhouse Primary, Gorleston.