(Title Image: The Mirror)
As a result of a follow-up inspection by Estyn, they’ve recommended Ogmore Vale Primary School be placed into special measures (pdf).
“Ogmore Vale Primary School is judged to have made insufficient progress in relation to the recommendations following the most recent core inspection.
“As a result, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales is increasing the level of follow-up activity.
“In accordance with the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that special measures are required in relation to this school. The school will draw up an action plan to show how it is going to address the recommendations.”
In many ways, this was a foregone conclusion after recent changes to the leadership structure at the school.
In practical terms, special measures means Ogmore Vale Primary can’t be used to induct newly-qualified teachers (NQTs), an action plan needs to be drafted (with follow-up inspections by Estyn in four-to-six months time) and parents, by law, have to be informed by the school’s governors of progress made in implementing any action plan.
Some of the reasons given for the recommendation include:
- The school has faced a period of what’s described as “leadership turbulence” and frequent changes have made it difficult for teachers to make and sustain improvements.
- Teachers are unclear on what the school’s strengths and weaknesses are, making it difficult to identify priorities for improvement.
- Quality of teaching is inconsistent and teachers have routinely accepted poorly presented work.
- A new electronic system of monitoring pupil progress has been introduced but it doesn’t yet have enough information to properly judge how well specific groups of pupils are doing (i.e. those receiving free school meals).
There was also some good news amidst the bad and it provides a glimmer of hope that the situation can be turned around.
New governors have been appointed (or are soon to be appointed) and they’ve taken a hands-on approach, supporting and challenging the school “appropriately” and undertaking regular visits. There were also said to be pockets of good teaching and teachers generally have high expectations of pupils’ work with a good understanding of what pupils with special education needs, in particular, require.
The school has introduced phonics lessons to improve spelling and reading; children’s literature is strongly promoted and reading seen as a positive. The problem has mainly been in higher reading skills.
There was also praise for how the school has enabled pupils to contribute to school life, including clubs and the school council – whose views were said to be taken seriously.