Primary school is showing improvements say education bosses

Howletch Lane Primary School.
Howletch Lane Primary School.
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A primary school which failed to make the grade is showing signs of improvement.

Earlier this year Ofsted inspectors said Howletch Primary School in Peterlee required improvement in almost all areas.

This enthusiastic team is developing its skills quickly

Ofsted

They said the leaders at the Pennine Drive school had not improved the quality of teaching enough, learning was variable, expectations too low and outcomes in early years were too low.

However, following a recent monitoring visit, inspectors said a number of improvements have been made.

They said immediate steps were taken following the initial inspection to reorganise the leadership structure, which have been embraced.

In a letter to the headteacher, Helen Adair, they said: “This enthusiastic team is developing its skills quickly. It undertakes reviews of pupils’ work and regularly observes learning.

“Key stage and subject leaders have sound plans to make better use of the information they gather to make sure improvements are put in place quickly and checked on regularly.

“The school’s action plan is focused on the correct priorities and there are helpful ‘milestones’ designed to support leaders, including governors, to check on the effectiveness of actions to improve the school.”

The inspectors said leaders have made some important improvements to the assessment system to make sure expectations for pupils’ progress and attainment are clear.

They said: “This remains a work in progress, but is becoming more useful and used more consistently to raise teachers’ expectations of what pupils can do, particularly in English and mathematics.

“Teachers are now routinely using assessment information to offer an appropriate level of challenge for pupils of differing abilities. Pupils are generally grouped by ability and the most able are asked to complete work designed to stretch them and challenge their thinking.

“Sometimes teachers do this skilfully and pupils can move seamlessly to tasks that deepen their understanding. However, this is not consistent.”

They said interventions for pupils who need to improve their reading and writing skills are now routinely evaluated by leaders and showing early signs of success.

And, governors have developed a better understanding of how well pupils are doing, by making use of published information and external experts, as well as information provided by the school.

The inspectors said: “The school has valued the effective support of the local authority. This has been particularly helpful in securing improvements to the indoor and outdoor areas for early years.

“Success can be seen in the recent improvements in the number of children who reach a good level of development.”