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New head vows to improve 'inadequate' primary school

New Lambourn headteacher taking on challenge with enthusiasm

New head vows to improve 'inadequate' primary school

LAMBOURN Primary School has received a mauling from education watchdog Ofsted.

But a new headteacher, Rachael Duke, is now at the helm.

The Ofsted report singled her out for praise and she has vowed to turn around the school’s fortunes.

The report, following a visit in March, rated the school as “inadequate”.

It states that successive changes in leadership have prevented the school from maintaining a good standard of education and that “standards have declined and are now too low”.

Pupils make insufficient progress in reading, writing and maths and most do not reach the expected standard for their age.

In addition, says the report, “pupils have weak basic skills. They do not write, spell or punctuate their work as well as they should.”

Leaders have “not provided sufficient guidance to teachers on how to improve their skills” and safeguarding arrangements are ineffective.

But there is a light on the horizon.

The report goes on to note that “the new headteacher has a clear understanding of what needs to improve.

“She has brought about stability and has quickly gained the confidence of staff and parents.

“There is a renewed sense of purpose.”

In addition, the school grounds provide a “stimulating resource for learning and playing” and governors provide “effective support to the relatively new headteacher”.

Chairman of the governors, Neil Hastle, said: “Of course we’re very disappointed by this report – but we have a clear plan in place to bring about improvements.

“We had already identified some of the issues ourselves before the inspection and started to address them; in particular by appointing a new headteacher in February to provide stability and lead the programme of work we need to do.”

He added: “We were thrilled to appoint Mrs Duke as our new headteacher.

“It is safe to say that she is proving to be the leader we expected – her calm, organised and intelligent style has won the confidence of children, staff, and parents alike.

“She has already made visible and sustained progress in teaching and learning.”

Mrs Duke said: “Despite the outcome, inspectors found much to commend the school for and the report contains many positives for us to take away.

“Whilst Ofsted recognised the strong upward direction of the school, they can only judge our recent history. We are taking on this challenge with enthusiasm and feel confident of a positive and promising future.”

West Berkshire Council’s head of education, Ian Pearson, said: “This is a disappointing result.

“However, the appointment of Mrs Duke has already brought not only the stable leadership that the school has been sadly lacking, but a clear plan and direction for improvement.”

He added: “She has the full support of governors, staff and pupils and I feel sure that the power of this willing collective will bring forth the improvements needed.”

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