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Thatcham's Parsons Down Junior school requires improvement - Ofsted

School leaders are working to address issues, with much still to be done say inspectors

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Contact:

01635 886633

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PARSONS Down Junior School has been judged as requiring improvement.

A team of Ofsted inspectors said that the achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management at the Herons Way school all needed improving following a two-day inspection in April.

The Ofsted grading system runs from Outstanding to Good; and from Requires Improvement to Inadequate. The recent inspection sees the school remain on its current rating since it was last inspected in 2013.

The inspectors said that teaching was not consistently good, particularly in Years 3 and 6, with teachers not always expecting enough of their pupils.

Too often, children were allowed to work at a leisurely pace or on work which did not stretch their capability.

The team noted, however, that changes in staffing meant that improvements in the overall quality of teaching had been difficult to achieve.

Pupil progress was also deemed to not be consistently good. And while progress was made in mathematics progress in reading, writing and English grammar punctuation and spelling was not as strong.

Indeed, while standards at the end of Year 6 had risen to average levels in 2014 those of grammar, punctuation and spelling were said to be below average.

The executive headteacher, Petrina Windsor, along with school leaders and governors, were said to have a clear vision and more ambitious plans for the school, while understanding the urgency for improving the school.

The inspectors said that the school leadership understood the school’s strengths and weaknesses and that key issues identified during the last Ofsted inspection had been addressed.

Mrs Windsor, said: “I am encouraged by this report as it recognises the work already done in order to bring the school up to a good grading. The positives far outweigh the negatives in this case and I am looking forward to our next inspection.”

The behaviour and safety of pupils was rated good, with inspectors saying that the school’s safety programme was outstanding. Pupils’ behaviour was found to be good and attendance was slightly above average. Parents and pupils said they had noticed that behaviour had improved.

To improve inspectors said that teachers should have higher expectations of pupils and expect them to make more effort to spell accurately, while information on pupil progress should be used to plan more ambitious tasks.

Head of education at West Berkshire Council, Ian Pearson, said, “Overall, this is a positive report. I have every confidence that Petrina and her team are already on track to achieve an Ofsted grade of ‘good’ for Parsons Down.”

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