The headteacher and chair of governors at a Jewish primary school in Essex have sought to reassure anxious parents after Ofsted inspectors downgraded the school from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement.’
Leaders of Clore Tikva Primary School in Ilford scrambled to explain the dramatic downgrade at a team of three inspectors spent two days at the two-form voluntary-aided school at the end of November.
During the school’s last inspection, in 2012, inspectors rated Clore Tikva as ‘Good’ in all categories, but this year they said the school “requires improvements” in three of the five categories, including school leadership and management, teaching and assessment, and pupil outcomes.
“The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is not consistently good,” wrote the inspectors of the 460-pupil school. “This results in pupils making less progress than they should, particularly the most-able.”
News of the downgrade will come as a shock to Jewish educators, after the school ranked 12th out of 47 in performance tables of primary schools in Redbridge for meeting expected standards in reading, writing and maths.
However inspectors noted that “pupils who have previously attained highly do not achieve all they are capable of,” adding that those who attained well at the end of key stage 1 “made less progress than similar pupils nationally… This was most marked in reading and writing”.
Headteacher Matthew Neat and chair of Governors Frances Niman pointed to the areas in which the school was praised, arguing that “the positives far outweigh the negatives,” adding that there would be “a range of feelings” after the report.
“Some will say the report doesn’t reflect the school they know, some will say it is an accurate reflection of their own experiences,” wrote Neat and Niman in a letter to parents on Tuesday. “Since the inspection the school has already begun to make changes to the wider curriculum.”
Inspectors said the quality of teaching was “too variable” across the school, with pupils “not challenged consistently well”. This resulted in “superficial learning” in some subjects, with teachers “missing opportunities to either help them secure their existing understanding or to deepen it”.
Neat and Niman said Governors would be meeting in January to come up with a post-inspection action plan.
A concerned parent told Jewish News: “Obviously they’re disappointing results, but I wasn’t surprised. My kids love the school and the teacher but what’s coming from the top isn’t enough. They can do so much more with the kids but they’re not pushing it through. Yes, the kids are happy, but to get three areas needing improvement is very disappointing. I think we now need the Governors to acknowledge that something isn’t working and see what changes can be made. The headteacher is new and needs time, but maybe the Governors need to look at themselves. Many have been in place for four or five years now.”