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Staplehurst Primary making 'reasonable progress' says Ofsted

Staplehurst primary school is heading in the right direction.

When Ofsted inspected the school a year ago, it identified a number of serious weaknesses, but in a follow-up inspection this month, Ofsted decided the school was making reasonable progress towards correcting those weaknesses.

A year ago, the school was told that it must improve the quality of teaching, the effectiveness of the school’s leadership and governance, and make improvements to the curriculum especially in regards to IT.

Since then five teachers have left the school, and four new ones started.

Inspector Catherine Anwar reported: “The head teacher’s drive and determination are reflected in much better test results in 2014 and a continuing rise in the rates of pupils’ progress.”

She found that there had been improvement in the teaching and that pupils were now getting more IT provision.

However, there were still areas to be improved, including ensuring greater consistency on marking and better middle management.

In her end-of term letter to parents the new chairman of governors, Caroline Downey, assured parents: “We are keen to ensure that the school continues on an upwards trajectory and to eliminate any fluctuations in performance.

“The governors were delighted with the judgement that the school is making reasonable progress towards removal of the serious weakness category – the best outcome that can be given for this level of inspection.

“The next visit will be a full Ofsted inspection which we are expecting any time before the end of May 2015.”

Mrs Downey has taken over from Clare Wakeling, who has stepped down as chairman, but will continue as a governor.

Parent governor Nicola Jessel resigned at the end of February, and parent governor Mark Bignell leaves at the end of January.

New governors have been recruited: former teacher Mary Henley who has a grandchild at the school; Victoria Laslett, a former manager of a child protection unit, who has two children at the school; and Rob Hartley, who has a son at the school. He will sit on the Governors’ Ofsted Action Monitoring committee.

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