Shock as Ofsted inspectors put school into special measures

February 03 2017

A DAMNING Ofsted report has put The Meadows primary school in Bitton into special measures.

A DAMNING Ofsted report has put The Meadows primary school in Bitton into special measures.

Inspectors found the school hadn’t addressed sexism and racism from teachers and pupils, and that girls at the school felt marginalised.

Now the school is likely to be forced to come out of local authority management and become an academy.

The news has come as a shock to many parents, because The Meadows had been rated “good” in all three of its previous inspections. But in this report, published last month, every aspect of the school was deemed to be inadequate or requiring improvement.

Ofsted inspectors had flagged at the last inspection in 2011 that girls were falling behind in maths, and said this problem hasn’t been tackled in the five years since then and maths teaching remains “seriously weak.”

Other criticisms included failure to deal with and record incidents of racism and bullying, and failure of the school governors to challenge the “decline in the school’s effectiveness.” 

Inspectors said that in 2016 the school did not meet the government’s minimum expectation for pupils’ attainment by the time they leave primary school.

The report said: “The head teacher and governors do not demonstrate any capacity for securing improvement.”

A new, temporary leadership team was put in place by South Gloucestershire Council within days. Ross Newman and Helen Porter, who have improved standards at Kings’ Forest primary school in Kingswood, were brought in to manage the school. 

Parents were advised that the existing head teacher, Fran Harding, was now “absent from school.”

In a letter to parents of the 191 pupils, chair of governors Sue Wakefield said: “Both Ross and Helen are highly experienced, capable leaders and will support staff and governors as we implement the recommendations made by Ofsted.

“Governors and staff were surprised and very disappointed by the overall judgement. All parents were invited to take part in Ofsted’s parent view survey and 95 per cent of those who did said they would recommend The Meadows to another parent.”

Only 38 parents completed the survey.

Despite the identified failings at the school, there were positive aspects. 

Most children enjoyed coming to school, opportunities for learning foreign languages were good, and procedures to safeguard children met requirements, the inspectors reported.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: “The Meadows primary school was inspected on the 24 and 25 November by Ofsted and was judged to be inadequate.

“We are working with the school to address the areas identified in the report.”