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Teachers shocked by Ofsted censure
STAFF at an Oxford primary school plunged into special measures last night admitted they were surprised at inspectors’ criticisms.
Cumnor Primary School said it was taken aback by the level of concerns Ofsted made in its report.
The report has just been released after inspectors visited the school in February.
Chairman of governors Jane Millin said: “The outcome of this inspection was much worse than most of the governing body expected.
“The range of issues raised by Ofsted far exceeded what we expected.
“We fully understand that this outcome is unacceptable to the pupils and parents of the school as well as to the wider community that we serve.”
Criticisms included inadequate progress and achievement by pupils, shortcomings in teaching and weaknesses in leadership and management.
Since the inspection was carried out, former senior leader Pauline Roberts and Rob Shadbolt, deputy headteacher at Matthew Arnold School, have been appointed acting headteachers.
Heather Broom was headteacher at the time of the inspection in February.
More than 100 parents attended a meeting on Tuesday to hear about plans for improvement.
Mrs Roberts said: “There is great potential in this school.
“With the level of parental commitment already apparent at the school and the commitment of the staff and governors, this school will thrive.”
Mr Shadbolt added: “The teaching and support staff have gathered themselves and are working as one to achieve the targets laid out in the school action plan. We are determined to show that this can be a first-class place.”
Mrs Millin said there was good teaching in the school – recognised in the report for Key Stage Two and in Early Years Foundation – and said the challenge was for good practice to be demonstrated throughout the school until all teaching was good.
She said: “I have a vested interest in the school because my children go there.
“We have already had a lot of support from parents.
“We believe the school has the capacity to improve quickly and we are all determined to make that happen.”
She said early discussions had been made about the possibility of academy status as a route for improvement.
Melinda Tilley, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for schools improvement, said: “We were surprised but we are already trying to do something about it.
“We do have a lot of very good schools in Oxfordshire but when one does fall by the wayside, it’s up to us to do something about it fairly quickly.”
The school went into special measures the day the report was published, April 24.
It was rated good at an inspection in 2006. Last year 65 per cent of pupils achieved the expected level in both English and maths at Key Stage Two. The Government benchmark is 60 per cent.
Last year, 90 per cent of Year Two pupils achieved the expected standard in Key Stage One tests in reading, writing and maths – all above the national average.
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