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Disappointment at Stoke Lodge Ofsted verdict
enior staff at the Olympus Academy Trust have expressed disappointment at the latest Ofsted report for Stoke Lodge Primary School, which has been given an overall grading of ‘requires improvement’ for the second time in just over two years. Inspectors who visited the school in early January once again judged its Early Years provision to be ‘good’ but rated the other four standard areas of assessment to be in need of improvement. At the time of the last assessment in September 2016, the school had just joined the Olympus Academy Trust and the headteacher at the time told parents he was confident that access to additional expertise and resources through the trust would allow the school to “fast-track areas identified for improvement”.
However, in his key findings, the inspector reports that leaders at the school “have not tackled issues identified for improvement at the previous inspection quickly enough”. As a result, pupils’ progress at the end of Year 6 has remained in the lowest 20 percent of schools nationally for English and mathematics. The reports goes on to say that “middle leaders do not yet have the skills to improve teachers’ practice” and that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in Key Stage 2 is “inconsistent”. It adds: “Weak teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling has led to gaps in pupils’ knowledge. This weakens progress in pupils’ written work.” Communication with parents and carers is said to be in need of improvement and it is noted that a “large majority” of parents who responded to an online survey
said they wouldn’t recommend the school to another parent. Strengths identified by the inspector, in addition to the good Early Years provision, are the quality of teaching in Key Stage 1, which is leading to stronger outcomes for pupils, and the provision of a “broad and balanced” curriculum. Pupils make particularly good progress in geography, history, art and religious education and the inspector noted evidence of improvements this year in both writing and mathematics. The report finds that, until recently, governors “have not provided leaders with sufficient levels of challenge”. It is noted that Olympus has replaced the governing body with a ‘standards board’ made up of experienced leaders from the trust board. The reports adds that there are “early signs that this body is having a
more positive impact”. In a letter sent out to parents ahead of the publication of the latest Ofsted report, Dave Baker (Olympus CEO) and Claire Banks (Olympus executive headteacher) wrote: “Clearly we are disappointed that the Ofsted inspection team judged the school as ‘requires improvement’, not least because we know that the quality of curriculum and teaching and learning is much better than it was two years ago, albeit the rate of progress has not been rapid enough. We remain confident that Stoke Lodge can now progress to a ‘good’ judgement with support and strong leadership from the trust.” The school says it plans to organise a meeting for parents and carers at which it will share its plans for addressing concerns identified in the report and any associated issues.
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March 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine.