Ofsted marks new Fir Vale school as inadequate in first report

oasis academy fir vale'Picture by Dean Atkins
oasis academy fir vale'Picture by Dean Atkins
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An education trust has promised to improve after inspectors found serious problems with almost all aspects of a new primary school in Sheffield.

Ofsted’s first report into Oasis Academy Fir Vale labelled the school ‘inadequate’ in each of the five inspection categories.

The school, off Owler Lane, Fir Vale, opened in September 2014 as part of the national Oasis Community Learning trust - but it has already had three different principals.

Ofsted identified numerous problems and areas for improvement, from teaching and pupil attainment to behaviour and incidents of racism among some pupils. However, inspectors did commend the new principal, Helen Round, for beginning to turn things round.

A spokesman for Oasis Community Learning said the trust was ‘dedicated to delivering exceptional education for every child, supporting their growth and development so that each pupil can flourish’.

The spokesman added: “The areas for improvement identified by Ofsted are ones we were previously aware of, and as the report has noted, we have already put in place able leaders who have begun to embed real and lasting change.

“Ofsted also highlights that the young people who attend the school face a number of personal, social and emotional barriers to learning.”

He continued: “The academy’s close working relationship with Sheffield Council, local stakeholders and community partners to support the children and their families is helping to overcome these challenges.”

The spokesman said the trust was confident Fir Vale was taking the ‘robust’ action necessary for pupils to realise their full potential.

Inspectors encountered a number of problems when they visited last month.

They said the new principal initially had to focus on pupils’ ‘aggressive behaviour’ rather than the quality of teaching, because of a lack of senior leaders to support her. They said there were too many staff changes and temporary teachers, and recommended that newly-qualified teachers should not be appointed.

Inspectors said some pupils showed racist views and a disregard for the feelings of others, although a new system to encourage good behaviour had been encouraged. And they found pupils were not well prepared for secondary school, with attainment levels for some leaving Year 6 falling four years behind other pupils.