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Ofsted inspectors say primary school work is "too easy"

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: July 10, 2013

Ofsted inspectors say primary school work is "too easy"

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STUDENTS at two primary schools in South East Cornwall are being given work that is too easy, say inspectors from the education watchdog Ofsted.

Following inspections at Upton Cross Primary School, near Liskeard, and Harrowbarrow Primary School, near Callington, inspectors said teaching at both required improvement.

Of Upton Cross, the inspectors said: "Teachers do not always have high enough expectations for what the pupils, especially the more able, are expected to learn so they can make better progress.

"Leaders are not checking rigorously enough ... that teaching is having the desired effect on pupils' achievement."

Inspectors reported similar concerns about the teaching at Harrowbarrow Primary School.

Their report said: "Teaching requires improvement because planning is not always sharp enough to meet the needs of different groups of pupils.

"Some of the work given to pupils is too easy and, sometimes, too little is expected, and this limits pupils' progress.

"Pupils are not given enough opportunities to set their own targets and judge for themselves the progress they make."

Leadership at Harrowbarrow was also criticised.

The inspectors wrote: "Leadership and management require improvement because professional development and checks on the quality of teaching have not been sufficiently robust to rectify weaknesses identified."

Both schools received a grading of three, which means improvements are needed in three of the four inspection areas – achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, and leadership and management.

In both schools the behaviour and safety of pupils was judged to be good.

Mark Clutsom, head at Upton Cross, said: "The process and standards have changed again since the last inspection in 2011 and, therefore, we were disappointed to have not achieved the good grading across the four areas of inspection, following the intensive work which has gone on.

"In a small school, every teacher has a leadership role and we are ensuring that each one of them uses the data available on the children fully to enable every child to make progress," he added.

Mr Clutsom said staff were looking at ways to address the concerns raised by the report.

He said: "Staff and governors are committed to raising standards for all children, and work is already ongoing to address the issues raised."

Andrew Hunt, head teacher at Harrowbarrow Primary School, said he was disappointed with the report.

"Obviously, the overall judgement is very disappointing and doesn't truly reflect the breadth and range of learning experiences available to our children," he said.

"However, we have to accept that, under this new Ofsted inspection framework, schools are going to be held to account when their end of Key Stage 2 (KS2) data shows a dip in performance.

"This is a challenge for smaller schools where the perceived success or failure of a cohort can be affected by the outcomes for one or two children.

"We recognise that our end of KS2 data last year was viewed as an under-performance compared to previous years and the staff are working extremely hard, as they always have done, to ensure this is remedied.

"We are already addressing the areas for improvement identified by Ofsted and look forward to the next inspection when we can show them that Harrowbarrow School is a good school, as judged by many of our families."

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