School on up, finds tougher inspection

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STANDARDS are improving at a Sheffield primary school which was one of the first in the city to be checked under a tougher new inspection framework.

Fox Hill Primary was rated as satisfactory with all groups of pupils making progress right through the school.

But in writing the children’s attainment was lower and the progress slower than in reading and maths.

Leadership and management were satisfactory but the integrated resource unit was not assessing the pupils’ progress well enough.

The school’s partnership with Monteney Primary was contributing effectively to levels of improvement through the sharing of resources, skills and expertise.

It had also resulted in a broader range of activities and opportunities for the children, the inspectors felt.

Teaching was satisfactory overall, with a growing proportion that was good or better, while the school was tightly-focused on improving key subject areas.

There were inconsistencies which held back progress, as tasks in lessons were not always appropriate for all groups of pupils.

The youngsters’ behaviour was good and they were supportive towards each other, both in lessons and play.

Attendance levels had risen for the third consecutive year, and were moving quickly to being above the national average.

Inspectors have now called upon the school to now accelerate the pupils’ progress, especially in writing, and to improve the quality of the marking of their work.

Executive headteacher Nicola Shipman said the new regime had raised the bar much higher than before.

“The inspection felt very new, very fresh and very challenging - it is being driven very much by standards and we did feel the outcome was led by the wider political agenda,” she said.

“There must be consistency now throughout the whole school and we were found to be making significant improvement, while real strengths were found in our provision.

“There are areas for us to improve on and that should always be the case, but we feel there is much for us to celebrate,” Mrs Shipman added.

■ See www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/107074 for the full report.