By: Joseph McKinley
By: Joseph McKinley

Wootton Community Primary School is making “reasonable progress” towards the removal of special measures according to the findings of its latest Ofsted report.

An inspector visited the school for a second time on 3 December 2013, after they judged it to have serious weaknesses in March. In her monitoring report published today (10 December), Her Majesty’s Inspector Margaret Dickinson said that the headteacher has focused strongly on improving teaching and learning and has set a clear direction for their continuing improvement. She added that weaker teaching is being tackled and that pupils’ progress has been analysed carefully to find out which pupils need to make better progress. The deputy head is also praised for having a direct impact on improving maths teaching. Governors are said to be continuing to provide a strong strategic lead in supporting and challenging the school’s work. Strengths included:

  • In some lessons, the stronger features listed above are becoming embedded and the norm for pupils. Pupils know what the teachers are expecting of them and what they should achieve by the end of each task, or lesson.
  • There are now fewer occasions when pupils sit for too long listening to the teacher talk at length. This was seen on only one occasion during this monitoring visit. On the whole, pupils are much more actively involved in lessons. They take responsibility for their learning and show a good degree of independence and teamwork.
  • The senior leaders drive for improvement is having most impact in mathematics. The mathematics leaders draws on a range of evidence, such as scrutiny of pupils books and teachers plans, and discussions with pupils, to gain a rounded view of the current state of play and give feedback to staff. As a result, pupils’ attainment and progress are picking up well in mathematics.
  • In mathematics lessons, teachers and teaching assistants now use questioning well to tease out pupils’ thinking and support pupils when they are not sure. Pupils are routinely given the chance to choose harder tasks if they feel they can manage them. During the visit, many pupils were seen challenging themselves to have a go and this did not just apply to the more able pupils.
  • In mathematics lessons, the teaching assistants are well briefed, they know the teachers intentions for the lesson and this guides them to use the right approaches with pupils to help them calculate or work out problems.

Weaknesses included:

  • Improvements in English are lagging considerably behind those in mathematics. The leadership of English has not had the same impact and pupils’ attainment is not accelerating strongly enough yet. The weaker teaching seen during the visit occurred in English lessons. Pupils’ books, in Year 6, show that not enough is being expected of pupils in writing; the teaching is not encouraging them to aspire to high standards. Pupils have individual short-term targets in the front of their books, but these are not being referred to, or used, regularly enough, so they have too little impact.
  • Pupils’ keenness to learn and achieve success, clearly evident in the mathematics lessons, did not come through strongly in English lessons. Pupils were not as clear about what was expected of them, why they were doing tasks and what they were leading to. In one lesson, pupils spent more time drawing than writing.

You can read the full report by clicking here