South Yorkshire school rated ‘Good’ after two years in special measures

Despite a year of uncertainty due to the pandemic, a primary school in South Yorkshire has been rated 'Good' by Ofsted, giving it a much needed boost after it was placed in special measures in 2019.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 1:20 pm

In a recent report, the education watchdog said St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Dinnington, Rotherham has seen significant improvement in its quality of education, thanks to its leaders who have adopted a new curriculum for all subjects.

The report read: "Leaders have raised staff’s expectations about what pupils can achieve. They are ambitious for all pupils.

"They have made sure that the curriculum is delivered well by the teaching staff. As a result, pupils achieve well. Leaders have made reading a priority. Pupils enjoy reading.

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Pupils at St joseph's in Dinnington celebrate their much improved OFSTED report

"They like listening to adults read to them in the daily ‘reading for pleasure’ sessions. Younger pupils vote each day for the book they would like to read.

"Parents recognise the improvements in the school, particularly in the teaching of reading. Pupils say that there is very little bullying."

In July 2019, the school, where 72 percent of the pupils live in the 20 percent most deprived postcodes, was placed into special measures after inspectors found that, among others, the leaders accepted low standards and "failed to act decisively to improve teaching."

The curriculum also failed to enable pupils to gain skills across different subjects, resulting in them being underprepared for the next stage in their education.

Pupils at St joseph's in Dinnington celebrate their much improved OFSTED report. Picture by Dean Atkins

Andrew Truby, who joined the school in February 2020 as an executive headteacher just before the start of the global pandemic, said he knew it was his "moral purpose" to help the school move forward.

He said: “I would like to thank the staff for their incredible effort to turn the school around and for the personal sacrifices that they have made and to the team of specialist leaders of education at Learning Unlimited TSA, who have been working closely with the teachers.”

“We had a really ambitious school improvement plan and we simply had to shift our mindset so that we could achieve this despite the pandemic.

"This meant that we had to find solutions, such as using video to observe teachers and to carry out coaching, it meant that we needed to offer a world-class remote education offer to all pupils and that we had to ensure that pupils not only made strong progress but also that gaps were closed quickly and securely by doing whatever it would take.”

Head of School Laura Atkinson also expressed her gratitude towards the staff who had worked so hard to improve the school.

She said: "The reading lead has been instrumental in raising standards across school and ensuring that reading is at the heart of everything and access to high quality texts has been a priority.

"We have excellent communication between home and school and building relationships between parents and the wider community alongside strengthening links with the Parish has been the key to our success.

"This has meant we have been able to achieve moving from Special Measures to Good amidst a global pandemic."

A parent, whose child is in Year Three, said: "The improvement and progress in every aspect of school has shone through. I am super happy with changes that have been implemented. My daughter has never been happier."