James Peacock Infant and Nursery School had a two-day inspection last month under Ofsted’s Education Inspection Framework (EIF), introduced in September 2019.
It concluded that the Ruddington school has fallen from being ‘Outstanding’ (in 2010) down to ‘Requires improvement’ in every category – as shown below from its Ofsted school report.
Ofsted ratings are: (1) Outstanding; (2) Good; (3) Requires Improvement; or (4) Inadequate. The report states that, until recently, there’s been both a lack of leadership at the school and with its Governing Body which led to “a period of decline.” Also Coronavirus was discussed with the team of inspectors because the school said it had “significant staffing issues from illness and Covid“. The impact of the ongoing pandemic was taken into account during the inspectors’ evaluation of James Peacock Infant and Nursery School.
The governors’ reaction to the report was issued in a statement: “The school now not only needs to respond to the result of our Ofsted inspection, but also turbulence with staffing and the longer term impact of the global pandemic.”
Parents and guardians were actually informed of the drop in standards and the inspectors’ findings prior to the report’s official publication this morning (29th April 2022) by Acting Headteacher Hannah Cutts. In her letter, dated 22nd April, she acknowledged the school required improvement.
“Although the Ofsted outcome is disappointing for our school community, we recognise the judgement to be a fair representation of where the school is currently at and is in line with our self-evaluation. The report recognises the work which has been undertaken in a short period of time” she said.
Mrs Cutts became Acting Head last October, after joining the school in Easter 2021, and the leadership team are relatively new to their positions, too. The Head has been absent and there’s been a high turnover of staff. The uncertain state in leadership and staffing are cited in the report as “having a negative impact on the smooth running of the school” which are a couple of the contributory factors to the school’s drop in performance.
Some other key findings found by the inspectors were
- previous curriculum was not fit for purpose
- a new curriculum was introduced in January 2022
- staff training on the curriculum is incomplete
- many subject leaders are new to the role and they are inexperienced
- pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is not well developed as it should be
- students’ behaviour & attitudes aren’t consistently strong and staff do not always set high expectations in this area
- Lack of accountability by governors about the school’s performance, and also the Governing Body did not ensure the school fulfilled its legal duty to consult with parents about the school’s policy for RSHE
The Ofsted report does point out that pupils are happy and feel safe at school. Students have a “strong start” in their early years with phonics and reading, also staff encourage a love of books and reading across the school.
James Peacock was also found to have effective safeguarding arrangements and inspectors said: “They have introduced significant improvements to safeguarding systems and policies, from October 2021.”
Mrs Cutts tells RUDDINGTON.info “Inspectors also recognise that changes are already underway and that there is ‘a systematic plan’ for addressing the weaknesses that exist across many areas of the school. Everyone at the school has worked very hard over the past few months to ensure there is a rigorous school Improvement Plan in place, helping us to make rapid changes for the benefit of our children. We are confident that with the new curriculum, staff training and other changes we have put in place, with the support of the local authority, we are well placed to make progress in all areas required.”
She continues: “We are proud of our children at this school and want to ensure they all receive the best education possible. We would like to thank our parents, carers and families for their continued support as we make every effort to improve further.”
The school’s governors say: “The Ofsted team spoke highly of the improvements which the leadership team have been working on and stated that the school was in good hands in our final feedback meeting. As much of the report states the current leadership team is in the infancy of much of the improvement journey. As a governing body we recognise the areas where we need to continue to both support and challenge the current leadership team.”
Three years’ ago dozens of parents and pupils gathered outside the school to protest at plans to make ‘a significant number’ of Teaching Assistants there redundant.
With the school’s motto being ‘Proud as Peacocks, achieving and being better each day‘ it’s hoped our Ruddington primary school can return to the top of the ratings by the time the inspectors call again!