Schools working to raise standards
TWO South East Cornwall primary schools judged to be in need of improvement earlier this year have been making efforts to raise standards, the Government's education inspectors have said.
Following inspections in June at Upton Cross Primary School, near Liskeard, and Polperro Primary School, Ofsted inspectors gave both a grading of three, which means improvements were 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.
Following monitoring inspections last month, the watchdog had released updated reports about the efforts being made at the schools.
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Of Upton Cross, the inspectors said in June: "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."
But after a follow-up visit last month it was found that senior leaders and governors at Upton Cross were taking "incisive and urgent action to tackle the areas requiring improvement".
The new report said: "Morale, relationships and ambition drive within the school are strong ... . Senior leaders are focused more closely on the progress pupils are making."
Mark Clustom, head teacher at Upton Cross, said the school had only had six weeks of term-time between the first report and the monitoring visit and he was pleased with the result.
"We are thrilled to bits that everybody is really doing everything to make sure the school is judged to be a good school in the next inspection," he said.
"The parents are really positive about the changes that have been made and so are the children, and we are working as hard as we can to make sure we get the result we deserve."
Following the June inspection at Polperro, Ofsted inspectors said pupils were not performing at the level they should be and criticised teaching, saying it was not consistent or good enough over time to ensure that pupils achieve well or to their full ability.
Last month's monitoring inspection found that staff and governors were taking effective action to tackle problem areas but inspectors said the school needed to take further action to support teachers in lesson planning and develop their questioning skills to enable them to extend pupils' thinking.
The inspectors said: "Robust systems for checking pupils' progress and the quality of teaching are now in place.
"The systems include linking the information on pupils' progress to lesson observations, examination of pupils' work and teachers' planning, and discussions with pupils."
Head teacher Roger Carter and acting head teacher designate Louise Gilbert were pleased with the comments. In a joint statement, they said: "The team have worked extremely hard since our Ofsted inspection in June to address all the issues identified, as well as build on our strengths, and are working diligently to ensure the school is graded at least 'good' at the earliest opportunity."