Sheffield school puts critical Ofsted report down to 'turbulence'

Carfield Primary School headteacher Lorna Culloden with staff who were leaving in 2015
Carfield Primary School headteacher Lorna Culloden with staff who were leaving in 2015
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A Sheffield school which was criticised by Ofsted inspectors insists it is ready to soar following a period of 'turbulence'.

Carfield Primary School in Meersbrook was told it 'requires improvement' - the second lowest mark available - following a visit in October.

Inspectors raised concerns about 'weak' and 'inconsistent' teaching, and said too few disadvantaged pupils were making sufficient progress.

The school - which was judged to be 'good' overall when last inspected in 2011 - was this time told it 'requires improvement' in four of five categories assessed, with only pupils' personal development, behaviour and welfare rated 'good'.

"The quality of teaching is inconsistent and coaching has not had sufficient impact in improving specific elements of teaching by individual teachers," stated the report, published at the end of November.

However, inspectors acknowledged that headteacher Lorna Culloden, who took the reins two years ago, had successully tackled staffing struggles and, together with her leadership team, had begun to improve the standard of teaching.

"Her robust actions have brought about improvements in teaching, learning and the school environment. The use of temporary teachers has reduced and staffing is now stable," inspectors noted.

In a letter to reassure parents, Mrs Culloden wrote that the school had 'experienced some turbulence' over the last five years, with a number of staff leaving or being on sick leave, and a new team being established.

However, she said the lead inspector had recognised things were 'improving' and 'felt confident' changes now being made would propel the school to a 'good' rating when it is next inspected, within two years.

"We have benefited already from additional support from Learn Sheffield, our School Improvement Partner, and the staff are fully on board with the styles of teaching required to make sure that your child makes the best progress they can at our school," she wrote.

"We have applied for a bid from a Teaching School that will provide funding so that staff can develop their skills further and we have invested in computing and maths resources...

"We have learned many valuable lessons from the inspection that strengthen the plan we already have to ensure the school continues to improve and we will keep you informed of our successes."

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