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Newbury school told it needs to improve

Ofsted report comes following two-day inspection

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Newbury school told it needs to improve

A NEWBURY primary school requires improvement, Ofsted has ruled.

Fir Tree Primary School and Nursery received the rating following a two-day inspection in October and November. 

All inspection categories – effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching; personal development, behaviour and welfare; and outcomes for pupils – were said to need improvement.

Early years provision was rated good. 

The inspection represents a one-grade slip from the school’s previous good rating, awarded in 2014.

Inspectors said that the quality of education had declined since 2014 and that pupils’ progress had slowed due to varying teaching quality. 

However, the report highlighted new initiatives that had produced rapid improvements, with pupils making stronger progress in reading and mathematics across the school.

Executive headteacher Charlotte Wilson said: “The report has many positives like our Early Years Foundation Stage and Autistic Spectrum Unit provision, which were graded as good. 

“This is down to the hard work and commitment of staff. 

“The report also highlighted areas that the school is working on and where we are making rapid gains. 

“It noted the positive impact of new leadership and their knowledge of the school and the strength in teaching across the school result in positive improvements in pupils’ maths and reading progress.”

Ofsted said that one reason for the varied quality of teaching was “staffing turbulence”.

The report noted that some parents and carers had concerns about the frequent changes in teaching staff, but recognised improvements had been made.

Mrs Wilson said: “The school needed to make some changes in staffing and this led to some instability, however the school has recruited a new associate headteacher, Lindsay Wood, who took up her post in September. 

“In a short space of time Mrs Wood has increased the positivity and aspirations in the school and we are driving standards up very quickly. 

“Our parents have been incredibly supportive, with record attendance at parents evenings and events this term. 

“They have welcomed the changes put in place by Mrs Wood and we are all looking forward to a very bright future.”

Ofsted said that Mrs Wilson had ensured that the school received effective support from the trust, leading to improvements in the quality of teaching and staff morale. 

To improve, Ofsted said that school leaders needed to hold teachers fully to account for pupils’ progress. Teachers also needed to address pupils’ misconceptions and help them learn successfully.

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