Parents ‘lack confidence’ in Chelmsford primary school’s leadership

A Chelmsford primary school has been told parents ‘lack confidence’ in its leadership by education watchdog inspectors.

The Ofsted inspection resulted in Priory Primary School in Bicknacre seeing its rating downgraded from Good to Requires Improvement.

Ofsted says teachers at the school understand what pupils need to learn and how this will build on what they already know in some areas.

But in other subjects and in early years, the curriculum is less well developed, the report claims. Inspectors add that teachers are not clear enough about what pupils already know and what they need to learn next. As a result, they do not always teach new subject knowledge clearly.

The school was told its phonics curriculum is clearly organised and set out. However, not all adults have had the training and support they need to put these plans in place as intended, including in early years.

The Ofsted report, which followed an inspection in June said: “Some areas of the curriculum, planning does not set out clearly enough what pupils need to know and how they will develop their subject knowledge and understanding over time. Teachers do not always have the expertise to check pupils’ understanding and to adjust provision where this is needed.

“Therefore, pupils do not achieve as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that, across all subjects, teachers have clearly set-out plans and the training they need to put these plans in place well.

“Some leaders of subjects and for inclusion have not had the time and training to check how well their curriculum is being taught and whether all pupils learn successfully.

“These leaders do not consistently know where extra support or training for staff is required to ensure that pupils achieve well. Senior leaders should ensure that all leaders have the expertise and time to carry out their roles effectively.

“In early years, provision across the curriculum is not consistently well matched to children’s needs. Where the most important learning is less precisely presented, some children lose focus and achieve less well. Leaders should ensure that staff have the expertise to teach and assess the early years curriculum effectively across all areas of learning.”

The inspectors add that newly appointed governors have had insufficient awareness of the curriculum policies for safeguarding and behaviour.

The report adds: “Following a period of change that resulted in some turbulence, some parents lack confidence in the school’s leadership. Many governors have joined recently, and while they are strengthening their effectiveness, they have had insufficient oversight of the curriculum and the implementation of systems for safeguarding and behaviour.

“Leaders should ensure that the school’s processes are implemented as agreed and that leaders’ actions are understood by all members of the school community. Governors should establish clear systems to check that these are consistently in place and fit for purpose.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter