Struggling school ‘making improvements’

Dene House Primary School, Peterlee.
Dene House Primary School, Peterlee.
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A STRUGGLING East Durham school is making improvements.

Earlier this year Ofsted inspectors rated Dene House Primary School, Peterlee, as inadequate overall.

Inspectors who visited the Manor Way school said although the behaviour and safety of pupils was good, several areas required improvement and pupils’ achievement was inadequate.

They said attainment in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Year 2 had been on a declining trend and in 2014 was very low and attainment at the end of Year 6 was significantly below average in writing and mathematics.

Inspectors said disadvantaged pupils underachieved and wide gaps existed in the attainment of these pupils compared to others.

In a letter following a recent monitoring visit to the school, inspectors said there were signs of improvement, including leaders securing support from a National Teaching School.

The said: “Teaching assistants are being used to better effect in some year groups and pupils are making faster progress in their acquisition of phonics.”

They said teachers’ marking is still not leading to quicker pupil progress and pupils’ handwriting and presentation are not improving quickly enough.

However, recently introduced initiatives are leading to increased fluency and understanding in reading.

Inspectors went on to say: “The local authority has an increasingly accurate view of the school’s strengths and areas for development through the work of the school scrutiny group.

“Teaching has improved because of the education development advisers’ insightful feedback to individual teachers following a scrutiny of pupils’ English and mathematics workbooks.

“Provision in the early years, especially teachers’ planning, is improving as a result of training provided by the local authority. Middle leaders are having a more positive impact on the work of the school.”

They said middle leaders are much more knowledgeable about the standards pupils should reach and the progress pupils should be making throughout Key Stages 1 and 2 and have a better understanding of how children are assessed in the early years.

And, governors are proactive and taking their challenge role to the school very seriously.

Inspectors said the school’s action plan requires further development and is not fit for purpose, but the local authority’s statement of action is fit for purpose.