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Thatcham Park School requires improvement

'Disappointing result' but staff and governors have responded positively, says head

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Contact:

01635 886633

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OFSTED has said that Thatcham Park C of E Primary School requires improvement.

The Park Avenue school received the rating, the same grade as when it was last inspected in 2014, following a two-day inspection in June.

The effectiveness of leadership, the quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils were all judged to be in need of improvement.

The school received good ratings for pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare and its early years provision.

Inspectors said that teaching was not consistently strong enough and that, while pupil achievement had improved, it was not yet good.

Teachers were found to have good subject knowledge, but in some lessons they did not have high enough expectations of what the most able pupils could achieve.

And, in some classes, teachers were found to focus on tasks to be completed rather than learning outcomes, leading to pupils not being sure of what they are learning.

Pupils’ progress in reading, writing and mathematics was viewed as inconsistent because the quality of teaching has been variable over time.

However, Ofsted said that younger pupils were in a better position to reach expected standards because teaching is improving.

Gaps in achievement between disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs or disability are also narrowing.

Inspectors said that pupils were well cared for and had good attitudes to learning – being polite, well mannered and courteous, which accounted for good attendance.

They learn about morals and ethics as the school’s values of community, compassion, respect, wisdom, thankfulness and endurance are shared during assemblies.

They added that a number of changes have been made to bring about improvements since the previous inspection.

However, school leaders did not always know how successful they are because they do not measure the impact they have had on pupils’ achievement.

To improve, inspectors said the consistency of the quality of teaching needed to be increased.

This could be achieved by making sure that pupils’ achievements were recognised and that they understood their next steps.

Leadership could be improved by focusing on actions that would improve pupils’ learning and achievement.

Headteacher Alison Webster said: “This is a disappointing result, but the governors and teaching staff have already begun responding positively to the challenge it sets us.

“We have already identified an action plan for the coming months, which includes a new improvement group, external support and an even greater emphasis on pupil progress and learning.

“Importantly, we will maintain our focus on being a caring community, which celebrates the fun and wonder of learning, and make sure we provide the best education and facilities for our children.

“As we seek to improve the school community will take heart from many of the positive comments highlighted in the report; it is affirming that the team recognised that the school leadership has brought about a number of improvements and particular strengths in developing middle leaders, pupil behaviour, attitude and personal development in addition to provision in the Foundation Stage.”

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