How ‘Inadequate’ primary school has transformed in lockdown after damning Ofsted report

A South Yorkshire primary school - which was rated 'inadequate' in 2019 - has improved leaps and bounds for the past one year despite having to operate under national lockdown.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 8:43 am

In a recent report released by Ofsted based on their remote monitoring visit, the education watchdog commended St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Dinnington for its efforts to improve the quality of education.

The report also praised the initiatives made by the school's executive headteacher, Mr Andrew Truby, who took over the office in February 2020, a month before the country went into the first lockdown.

The four-page report read: "Over the past year, turbulence in changes to staffing and governance has stabilised.

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Pupils and staff celebrate at St Joseph's School at Dinnington

"You, and the head of school, work well together and staff morale is high. These relationships have helped to ensure that education is being provided to all pupils throughout the pandemic.

"Leaders have placed a high importance on educating pupils irrespective of whether they are in school or at home.

"In March 2020, the curriculum was in the early stages of development. You prioritised redesigning all subjects to establish what pupils would learn and in which order. This process was not delayed by the pandemic.

"Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive appropriate support."

The report also said the vulnerable pupils at the school have settled well since the fully reopening of schools on March 8.

"Where necessary, some pupils access help from adults or individual tutoring sessions. You make sure that vulnerable pupils and their families receive any help that they need.

"For example, if vulnerable pupils need to work at home, teachers contact them during and after lessons to check how well they are learning.”

In response, Mr Truby said the school has gone through "massive improvement" across the board, which he attributed to the hard work and support by the teaching staff and parents.

"The reception year and those on key stage one are on track on their reading – we have gone from 20 percent in phonics in Year 1 in 2019 and the recent one it increased to 91 percent.

"We have also got a curriculum offer in place that is very coherent. We have raised the bar and expectations of what the children can do while building confidence in them," he said.

And now, Mr Truby feels the school is now in a "strong position", as he hopes the school will be promoted to 'Good' in their next Ofsted inspection.

"We are hoping to be rated 'Good'. We will be pushing for 'Good' judgment and we are fairly confident that we would.

"We are sure that Ofsted would be very, very impressed. We have a new uniform, the classrooms being decorated with a totally different look and it's all about excellence and high expectations now," he said.

The school’s headteacher Laura Atkinson said: “I am really pleased with the latest Ofsted report and that the at the hard work of the staff and children has been recognised by HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector).

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Andrew on leading the school through its improvement journey and I am really proud of the efforts and achievements of all.”