Inspectors look again at West Hallam school and overturn ‘special measures’ decision

Schools could lose out on funding, teaching unions have warned
Schools could lose out on funding, teaching unions have warned

A West Hallam primary school will no longer be placed in special measures after Ofsted agreed to take another look at what its inspectors had found.

Scargill CE (VA) Primary School initially received a rating of ‘inadequate’ after Ofsted visited the school in November.

However, three key areas of the school’s effectiveness have now been assessed as ‘good’ after inspectors returned to the school in January.

Senior Ofsted inspector for the East Midlands, Ian McNeilly, said: “Concerns were raised, including by parents and members of the school’s staff, that not enough evidence was gathered during the inspection in November.

“Ofsted looked again at the evidence base and decided that a further visit to gather more evidence should take place. As a result, two of Her Majesty’s Inspectors visited the school on January 24.

“The overall judgement on the effectiveness of the school is that it requires improvement. However, pupils’ outcomes, teaching, learning and assessment and the early years provision in the school are all good.

“While returning to a provider to gather additional evidence is very rare, it is important to ensure that Ofsted’s judgements are fair and robust.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience and upset caused as a result of this extended inspection.”

The school management team received the initial draft report last month. Parents and local media were informed, but the school also contacted Ofsted to query some of the points made by the inspection team.

In a move that Ofsted itself has acknowledged is rare, the inspectorate did not publish the first report and agreed to visit the school again.

It has now produced a new report with the improved overall rating of ‘requires improvement’.

Staff and governors have been advised to make improvements in the following areas: school leadership and governance, teaching and assessment, safety, behaviour and welfare.

However three areas have been rated as ‘good’ are: quality of teaching, learning and assessment; outcomes for pupils; early years provision.

The new report also praises the school for the progress pupils make from their starting point, its broad and balanced curriculum, questioning used by teachers to help pupils understand their subjects, the teaching of phonics

Scargill School headteacher Andrew Poole said: “We are happy that Ofsted recognised the need to return to collect more evidence and correct the judgements from the first report. The outcome is a more balanced report that better reflects the many positive aspects of the school.

“My hope is that the whole school community can work together to celebrate the successes in the report, address the issues and continue to move the school forward.”

Chair of governors Linda Webster said: “The inspectors recognised that governors are ambitious for the school and want the pupils to do well.

“An external review to improve the quality of governance was recommended and this has already been arranged.

“The Governors have appreciated all the feedback from parents, both at the recent parents’ meeting and through emails, and value everyone’s comments.”

Derbyshire County Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Caitlin Bisknell said: “The school management team should be applauded for its determination that the outcome of the inspection should be an accurate reflection of how the school is performing.

“Clearly, there is still work to be done to address key issues for improvement, but the assessment of teaching quality, outcomes for pupils and early years provision at the school as ‘good’ is very welcome news for everyone associated with Scargill Primary.”

The school’s Ofsted report can be found at https://reports.ofsted.gov.