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‘Superhead’ says Berinsfield school improving
A PRIMARY school described last summer as failing its pupils could be out of special measures as soon as next term.
That is the hope of Martin Lester, acting headteacher at Berinsfield Primary School in Wimblestraw Road, as a new monitoring report from Ofsted says the school is making “reasonable progress”.
Mr Lester said: “If we can sustain the improvement we have got to date, it is looking increasingly more likely that we could come out of special measures in the summer.
“We are particularly pleased about the overall rate of progress the children are making, which is down to the teaching being more effective.”
He said the biggest change had been raising expectations of teachers, children and parents and working together on issues ranging from academic challenges to attendance.
The school, which has 283 pupils, went into special measures following an inspection in May 2012 due to low attainment levels in English and maths.
An interim executive board was put in place to replace the governing body last February, and Mr Lester, an experienced ‘'superhead’, was brought in to bring about rapid change.
The monitoring report said pupils’ achievement was now improving – although progress was not speeding up uniformly across the board.
Support programmes had been put in place to help pupils who had fallen far behind, and assessments showed there had been some “rapid gains” in their reading and maths skills.
Deputy headteacher Helen Smales, who has been at the school for 13 years, said: “It’s all been due to raising expectations and the communication of those expectations, and also the realisation and celebration of the progress that we are making.
“We need to maintain that clear vision and understanding of what our children need and how we can take them further forward.”
Inspector Linda McGill pointed to growing strengths in teaching, better lesson planning and higher expectations from teachers.
She also said a high level of support from Oxfordshire County Council had played a “vital part in enabling the school to move forward”.
This comes shortly after the local authority was criticised by Ofsted for lack of detail in its statement of action for Abingdon’s Fitzharrys School.
Melinda Tilley, education cabinet member for the county council, said she was pleased the local authority’s role had been recognised.
She said: “It is an important school in an important place and it needs to improve, and I am very glad Ofsted thinks it is improving.”
The school is set to become an academy on September 1.