A head teacher and the governing body at a Yate primary school say they are determined to improve the quality of teaching and learning and have expressed deep disappointment at being placed in special measures by Ofsted.
Tyndale Primary School, on Tyndale Avenue, Yate was inspected over two days at the end of January and received the official judgement from Ofsted inspectors this week.
Since the previous Ofsted inspection in 2012 which rated the school as good, inspectors acknowledged that pupils are ‘catching up from a legacy of ineffective teaching’, but recognise the actions taken by the new leadership team to address pupils’ previous poor behaviour is showing signs of improvement. They also acknowledged that this has improved the overall culture within the school, which is now described as a strength.
The report acknowledges that the school has undergone a period of instability with several changes of leadership, and in a letter to parents (see attachments under Notes to Editors) head teacher Angie Ritchie, who joined the school in 2016 offered her reassurance that she would continue to lead the school and drive through the necessary improvements which are already starting to be evidenced.
‘The newly formed leadership team, teachers, governors and targeted support from the local authority will ensure we build upon the recent improvements and provide the stability needed to ensure that we maximise the pupils’ newly found eagerness and keenness to learn,’ said Mrs Ritchie.
‘We’re starting to see signs of improvement,’ she added, ‘but these improvements will take time to embed. I do however take great comfort in the fact Ofsted recognise that we have been working hard towards improving teaching and learning.’
The report highlights a number of strengths and positives to build on, including:
- Leaders have worked with determination to tackle poor behaviour and this has led to an improvement in the culture of the school
- Current leaders and governors have worked hard to eliminate weak teaching
- Leaders have improved the teaching of early reading so that the proportion of pupils who reach the expected standard at the end of Y1 is in line with national data
- Intervention provided is improving progress in reading, writing and maths
- Pupils are beginning to use reasoning skills in maths and apply their calculation skills to solve problems
- Early years is a vibrant and welcoming environment in which pupils can develop a range of skills, knowledge and understanding
- Leaders’ actions have improved pupils attitudes to learning and their confidence
- Leaders have a good awareness of pupils’ vulnerability and take swift action to take care for them; this was also recognised by comments from parents
- Safeguarding is also effective in all areas of school, keeping pupils safe is a priority for leaders and leaders take appropriate decisive action to protect pupils in their care
- Leaders have taken concerted action to improve attendance especially among pupils with special educational needs or disabilities. Attendance is now good in all groups
- Pupils are well looked after because pastoral provision is effective
- Pupil exclusions have reduced. Pupils are polite and welcoming.
Plans are already in place to ensure the school takes on board all the recommendations in the report as well as building on the school’s strengths. Raising standards will only be achieved by greater challenge which is the key to rapid improvement.
Cllr Toby Savage, Cabinet member responsible for schools, said: “While I share in the disappointment that Tyndale has been placed in special measures, I’m confident that, with the right support, the school will improve rapidly.”
Chair of Governors Deborah Williams added: “The governors, the head teacher and the staff are extremely disappointed with the overall outcome of the inspection. However we are unwavering in our commitment to turn the school around and improve outcomes for all our pupils. Head teacher Angie Ritchie and I would like to thank all staff, pupils, parents and governors for their continued support in this time of change. Tyndale is a wonderful school with amazing pupils willing and keen to do their very best.”
Government policy is that all schools placed in special measures become an academy. The governing body at Tyndale will be working with the local authority and the Regional Schools Commissioner to find the best academy sponsor for the school.
The school will provide further updates to parents and pupils once the sponsor has been confirmed. A meeting explaining the next steps takes place at the school later this month.