ANOTHER Huddersfield primary school has been plunged into special measures – despite expecting to achieve its best-ever results.
Government inspectors have given a vote of no-confidence to leaders and staff at Almondbury Junior School, by grading the school as inadequate and putting it into special measures.
The 4 rating is the worst possible grade and means that Ofsted believes that the school needs external help in order to improve.
Almondbury staff are “deeply disappointed” and Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman , a regular visitor, has defended the school, saying: “Here is a school I know to be good.”
This latest report comes on the back of Almondbury C of E (VA) Infant and Nursery School being downgraded from Good (2) to Requires Improvement (3) by Ofsted last month.
In their report, inspectors criticised Almondbury Juniors, stating:
“Pupils’ achievement in English and mathematics is inadequate.”
“Teaching is inadequate. Pupils are not taught the reading, writing and mathematical skills they need to get better at their work.”
“Lessons do not always inspire pupils and capture their interest.”
“School leaders and governors have made too little progress in dealing with recommendations from the last inspection in 2009.”
“The school’s evaluation of its performance is over-generous. Consequently, the action taken to improve the school lacks urgency and has had little impact.”
The inspectors did, however, say that most pupils enjoyed school and their attendance and behaviour had improved.
Chair of Governors Johanna Hull said: “The school leadership team and the governors all acknowledge that the report is deeply disappointing, but it is equally important to stress that we had already identified areas for improvement.
“Before the inspection took place we had taken action to raise standards to a higher, more consistent level and we are now seeing the results of this work.
“We are on track to achieve the school’s best ever SATs results, with some children achieving level six – a standard expected in Year 9 at high school.
“The report is positive about examples of good and outstanding teaching.
“At the same time, we are absolutely clear that there are several issues to address in order to improve standards. This is happening as a matter of urgency.”
A Kirklees Council spokesman added: “An action plan is being developed and we will work closely with the school to ensure that improvements are made urgently.
“Our priority is to ensure that local children have access to the best possible standard of education.”
AN MP has hit out after another primary school has received a shocking report from Ofsted.
Almondbury Juniors, previously graded Satisfactory (3), follows Lepton CofE (VC) Junior, Infant and Nursery School, previously Good (2), into ‘Special Measures.’
One of the Almondbury inspectors, John Dunne, was lead inspector at Lepton, and some educationalists believe that Huddersfield is being targeted by Ofsted, due to the low numbers of schools wishing to convert to academies.
Once a school has been placed in Special Measures, it has to convert to an academy. Colne Valley Specialist Arts College is currently going through this process.
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, former chairman of the Education and Skills Select Committee, has promised to take up the matter with the Chief Inspector of Schools.
He believes that there is a political agenda behind the increasing polarisation of the Ofsted reports in Huddersfield.
He said: “It seems that yet again here is a school which I know to be good going into special measures.
“I know there were some transitional problems associated with changes of staff, but what astonished me is that Ofsted are using a hammer to crack a nut.
“This sends the wrong message and delivers a tremendous blow to people’s confidence and motivation.
“I think it is political, it is a policy which comes from Education Secretary Michael Gove.
“ The Ofsted reports are becoming more and more black and white.
I am unhappy about this and will bring it up with the Chief Inspector”.