Sheffield primary moving in right direction - but standards still need raising

Athelstan Primary School, Richmond Park Way, has received a requires improvement rating from Ofsted. Picture: Andrew Roe
Athelstan Primary School, Richmond Park Way, has received a requires improvement rating from Ofsted. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Standards at a Sheffield school are moving in the right direction according to inspectors – but it still needs to improve.

Athelstan Primary School, in Handsworth, has been rated as ‘requires improvement’ – the same rating it was given in 2013 following an inspection by Government education watchdog Ofsted.

Inspectors have found the school is moving in the right direction under the leadership of headteacher Deb Halliday.

Governors are also contributing fully to ensuring that the quality of teaching and pupils’ achievement is good.

Pupils’ behaviour was found to be good and they work hard in lessons, while the provision in early years is effective.

However, the Ofsted inspection team found that since the previous inspection pupils’ progress has not been consistently good, especially in reading, and achievement is too varied.

The teaching of reading is too variable and pupils do not achieve as well as they should. They also said some children do not have the opportunity to read to an adult often enough. The quality of teaching is not consistent and teachers’ expectations are too low and do not challenge pupils sufficiently.

Marking does not regularly tell pupils what they have done well or how to improve their work and children are not always expected to respond to the advice given.

Mrs Halliday and Sarah Horsfield, chair of governors, said there had been significant improvement since the previous inspection.

They said: “Despite being judged as requiring improvement overall, there are significant areas that have improved since our last inspection, namely behaviour, leadership, management and governance, and early years provision. Safeguarding at our school was judged to be outstanding.

“Our school action plan for next year will focus on reading, stretching the most able learners, and on ensuring the quality of teaching and marking is helping more of our children attain national expectations or better.

“Everyone involved in school understands we are only part of the way on our journey to good in all aspects and are fully committed to continuing to improve at an accelerated pace.”