Staff disappointment after school is told to improve

St Peters CofE Primary School, Ardingly
St Peters CofE Primary School, Ardingly

Staff and governors were left  “disappointed” after their school was told to improve by Ofsted.

But the team at St Peter’s Primary, in Ardingly, were confident progress would be made.



St Peter’s saw its rating drop from ‘outstanding’ to ‘requires improvement’ following an inspection in March. The findings of inspector Matthew Barnes were published on April 3.

In his report, Mr Barnes praised headteacher Jamie Savage for having “halted the decline in standards” over the past 12 months – but he said leaders had been “slow to tackle weaknesses in teaching”. Chairman of governors Lynn Wilson said: “Naturally the whole school community was disappointed with the overall judgement of ‘requires improvement’.

“We are confident, as was the inspector, that ‘leaders are clear about what is going well and where improvements are needed’. We are of course working on a robust action plan to reinforce the work that has already begun.”

Mr Savage said the Ofsted report gave him and his team “clear focus for our continued development”.

He added: “In the report the inspector acknowledged that we have already made a good start and governors ‘share in the leadership’s vision for achieving the best standards possible for pupils’.”

Mr Barnes acknowledged that, since the last inspection in 2012, St Peter’s had taken on a completely new team of teachers, and commented that: “Recent and frequent changes in teaching have disjointed pupils’ learning.”

Teaching was described as “inconsistent”, with the teaching of maths “not as strong as it needs to be”. The teaching of writing, though, was seen to have improved.

After inspecting the children’s books, Mr Barnes found the pupils were making “strong gains” in their literacy skills and “improving gains” in their numeracy skills.

There was praise for the behaviour of the children, which was seen to be good in and out of lessons, while the youngsters spoke “very positively” about their school.

Mr Barnes also found a number of strengths in the school curriculum such as the promotion of British values and children’s spiritual, moral and social development.

Mr Savage said: “St Peter’s is a fantastic school and the parents, pupils and staff work extremely well together to provide a loving, caring, supportive learning environment, where children feel safe and happy to learn.”

Ms Wilson added: "“At St Peter’s we are proud of our entire school community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, pupils and parents for their very positive support both during the inspection and throughout the year.”

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