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Ofsted check finds school is making more progress

By Lewis Dyson

New principal Annie Donaldson at Richmond Primary School, Sheerness

A school is continuing to make progress since it was placed into special measures over a year ago.

The latest Ofsted report into Richmond Primary, Nursery Close, Sheerness, found the quality of teaching is getting better, but pupils are still not doing well enough in English and maths.

In October 2011, inspectors ordered the school to make urgent changes and identified areas which needed to improve.

It was announced at the same time that head teacher Marian Smith had left.

The third check since then was carried out from December 4 to 5, visiting 13 lessons and six short visits to classes.

Inspectors reported that pupils are still not achieving as well as they should in reading, writing and mathematics, and rated their attainment in those areas as inadequate.

Progress in the quality of teaching – one of the areas identified in the October 2011 inspection – was rated as satisfactory.

Other findings included that attendance has improved and is now at the national average, and that incidents of poor behaviour are much reduced, and "the high number of exclusions seen over past years have plummeted to zero".

Immediate action to make sure children are safeguarded has been completed and a ban was placed on newly qualified teachers being appointed.

In June 2012, Kent County Council contracted Lilac Sky Schools to manage Richmond and provide training for staff. New principal Annie Donaldson was also appointed.

According to the report, the company has "significantly enhanced the quality of leadership and management" and Ms Donaldson’s "enthusiasm and her positive attitude are infectious".

It also found that staff and pupils are signing up to the idea of a ‘Richmond Team’.

Ms Donaldson said: "I am delighted with the progress we are making and what I am really pleased about is that the school has really pulled together as a team.

"There has been particular improvement in behaviour. We have been working closely with parents, which is really important."

She added that she was also pleased the report picked out the work of the management team and her enthusiasm and positive attitude.

Good rating wins praise for staff

The head teacher of Minster Primary has praised her staff and children for the school’s Ofsted results.

It has gained a good rating following its previous satisfactory grading after an inspection in early December.

The report found that bullying is rare and pupils feel safe, attendance has improved and children’s behaviour is consistently good.

It found the school is not yet outstanding because, although the quality of teaching is good, it has some inconsistencies, a small proportion of children, often girls, do not make the same good progress in maths as boys and the governing body does not gather enough evidence of its own.

The school has a bright and vibrant atmosphere which pupils find attractive.

Head teacher Debbie Wheeler said the school, in Brecon Chase, is well on its way to becoming outstanding: "I am very proud of our children. It is a testament to the hard work of pupils, teachers and all staff.

"Over the past two and a half years Minster Primary has undergone a radical transformation with every staff member fully committed to ensuring every child achieves.

"We are a good school and it is great for that to be endorsed by Ofsted."

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