School’s standards sliding

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Standards have slipped at a Sheffield primary school which inspectors have found requires improvement across the board.

Charnock Hall Primary at Gleadless had been previously rated as good, but now pupils across the school are not consistently making good progress.

Younger children did not recognise letters and their sounds well enough or have the skill to tackle new words, while older pupils did not read often enough to an adult.

They didn’t understand some of the words that they read and so their reading skills were not improving to a higher level.

The children’s spelling and punctuation was not always correct and their writing often lacked depth and detail, inspectors said.

There were problems in maths lessons too, with pupils not always using their knowledge to solve problems accurately and speedily.

Overall inspectors felt that teaching at the school was not consistently strong enough to bridge the gaps in the children’s previous learning.

And staff did not always ensure that work was challenging enough for those of different abilities, especially for the most able pupils.

Inspectors were critical of the poor quality of the school building, which they said did not make pupils feel valued and was having a negative impact on learning.

Staff and governors had not taken concerted action to address this long standing issue.

But it was felt that the process of improvement had already started in school, with senior teachers having a secure understanding of where changes were needed.

Recent monitoring of teaching and learning was accurate and identified the school’s strengths and weaknesses.

Headteacher Sarah Scarborough said: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the Ofsted inspection but we would like to reassure parents that we are taking the recommendations very seriously.

“We have been working hard over the past two years and as a result pupils’ achievements are improving.

“Work is ongoing to address each area of concern raised by Ofsted and we are confident that results will continue to improve this year.

“We have been working closely with other schools in the Birley Learning Trust to improve the leadership and management of the school, the quality of teaching we offer and the attainment of our pupils.

“We’ve also provided training opportunities for staff to develop their skills and have started to refurbish the school to ensure it is an inspiring place to learn. The welfare and attainment of our pupils is our number one priority,” she added.