Sheffield primary school is ‘failing pupils’

Acres Hill Primary School, Mather Road. Picture: Andrew Roe
Acres Hill Primary School, Mather Road. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A Sheffield primary school is ‘failing to give pupils an acceptable standard of education’, inspectors have ruled.

Ofsted inspectors said Acres Hill Community Primary School, on Mather Road, Darnall, needs to be put in special measures.

The school has been found to be inadequate – with low attendance records, poor maths teaching and failures to spend extra funding for disadvantaged students effectively being singled out as areas for criticism.

A report said: “This school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement.”

But the newly-published report does state that new interim headteacher Catherine Whittingham ‘is moving swiftly to improve the quality of teaching and get the school back on track’.

The school, which has 349 pupils, was visited by an inspection team in November.

The report said: “Achievement throughout the school is inadequate. All pupils, including disabled pupils and those with special educational needs do not make the progress they should.

“Mathematics is not taught well. Pupils’ understanding of how to apply mathematical skills is muddled.

“Expectations of what pupils can achieve are not high enough. Untidy work is often accepted by teachers and pupils do not always know how to improve their work.

“Leaders, including governors, have not made effective use of the pupil premium funding to ensure that the progress of disadvantaged pupils improves.

“Attendance, although improving slightly, is low.”

The report has called for an external review of the school’s use of the pupil premium.

But inspectors added: “The new interim headteacher has a clear vision and is moving swiftly to improve the quality of teaching and get the school back on track.

“Staff have responded positively to the very recent changes and are determined to improve their practice.

“In a short time, the newly-appointed interim headteacher has moved swiftly to identify the key issues in the school.

“She has started to address the legacy of poor progress, weak teaching and a lack of robust systems to check how well pupils are doing.

“She has already gained the confidence of staff, parents and pupils.”

Cath Whittingham, who has now been appointed as the headteacher on a permanent basis, said: “Although we are disappointed by the judgements, we accept Ofsted’s findings and are already working to address the issues raised.

“It is my priority to make sure that the concerns raised by Ofsted are met head on and dealt with properly so that the school quickly gets back on track.

“There is clearly a lot that needs to change at the school in order for things to improve and we have already started to make changes in the right direction, as noted by the inspectors. I look forward to continuing this good work and working closely with staff and parents as we carry on creating a school where each child has every opportunity to do their very best.”