Special measures imposed as pupils are being let down

St Catherine's RC Primary School, Moss Lane, Leyland
St Catherine's RC Primary School, Moss Lane, Leyland

A Leyland primary school has been blasted by Ofsted after ‘failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education.’

St Catherine’s RC Primary School has been put into special measures because the achievement of pupils and quality of teaching is ‘inadequate’, according to a new report by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).

Inspectors visited the Moss Lane school in early October, and have now revealed that school leadership is ‘weak’ and said teachers are not getting the best out of their pupils.

The damning report, which was published last week, added that ‘pupils are not well prepared for their future’ and said that disabled children, and those with special educational needs, do not achieve as well as they should.

Other main concerns include:

- A significant proportion of parents do not feel that their children make sufficient progress and inspection evidence confirms this view.

- Expectations are often too low so pupils find work easy and lose interest – and pupils are unsure about what exactly is expected of them.

- Difficulties in staffing, particularly at senior levels, have resulted in a lack of direction or steer for improvement, and ineffective support for staff.

- Leadership capacity is weak and the school lacks clear and consistent direction.

- The curriculum is inadequate ... it is not planned to match the abilities and interests of pupils.

The report added that the more able pupils and boys also do not achieve as well as they should, and that some students’ targets were more suitable for children aged two years younger than the pupils they are set for.

The report reads: “When teaching is good, teachers and support assistants skilfully question pupils to check their level of understanding and act quickly to clear up any confusion.

“However, this is not typical and there are too many examples of pupils’ work that is not finished or, in some cases, has barely been started.”

Acting headteacher Val Plant said: “This has come as a huge disappointment to us, of course, but we know what we need to do and we’re quite sure we’re equal to the task.

“Our governors are fully behind us, and we are already working on our action plan with huge support from our advisers from the county council, who have been helping us for some time.”

Ms Plant, who was the school’s deputy headteacher, is standing in for the headteacher for the second time in the past year, as the head is absent through illness.

“As the inspectors acknowledged, we’ve had a difficult patch,” she said.

“But we now have an experienced associate deputy head in place and will be working with the council on ensuring the school has stable, strong leadership.

“We are in a lovely location, and we are lucky to have good, well-behaved pupils and supportive parents.

“I am confident that we have all the elements to be rated as a good school very soon.”

The achievement of pupils, quality of teaching; and leadership and management were all classed as ‘inadequate’ in the report,
and the behaviour and safety of pupils ‘requires improvement’.

The report did praise the manners of the students, and said that older pupils look after the younger ones.

It said: “There are very few examples of bullying, and pupils are confident that any concerns they have will be listened to and acted upon.

“Pupils feel safe and they are confident, articulate young people.

“They have a clear sense of right and wrong and their moral and social development is promoted well.

“Attendance has improved, and pupils enjoy coming to school. They are polite and welcoming to visitors and keen to talk and express their views.”

The school must now improve children’s progress, and the standard of all teaching by next summer, and urgently improve leadership, management and governance.

It will also receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors to check its progress.

- What are your views on this? Email kay.taylor@lep.co.uk

- To read about the progress of another Leyland primary school which was put into special measures this year, Click here