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Ipswich’s Gusford Primary on Ofsted list of ‘under-performing’ schools after failing to earn ‘good’ rating in 12 years

PUBLISHED: 19:16 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:17 13 December 2017

Gusford Primary School, Ipswich. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Gusford Primary School, Ipswich. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Bosses at an Ipswich primary school ranked by Ofsted in a list of consistently under-performing institutions are confident that improvements are being made.

Breakdown of primary inspection outcomes. Data from Ofsted official statistics. Graphic: JOANNE WARDBreakdown of primary inspection outcomes. Data from Ofsted official statistics. Graphic: JOANNE WARD

The official watchdog ranked Gusford Community Primary School in Sheldrake Drive among more than 100 schools in England and Wales that have failed to achieve a ‘good’ rating for more than a decade.

According to the findings of their annual report, improvements are being made to both secondary and primary education in Suffolk.

The study found the percentage of secondary schools judged as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ increased from 66% last year to 74% this year, while almost nine in ten primary schools managed to make the grade.

But Suffolk was at the bottom of a regional table for secondary education.

Breakdown of secondary inspection outcomes. Data from Ofsted official statistics. Graphic: JOANNE WARDBreakdown of secondary inspection outcomes. Data from Ofsted official statistics. Graphic: JOANNE WARD

Run by the Active Learning Trust, Gusford Primary was ranked as ‘requires improvement’ after in inspection carried out earlier this year.

Since then, they have appointed permanent headteacher Claire Claydon, former leader at the ‘good’ rated Brightlingsea Primary School.

An Active Learning Trust spokesman said: “The trust appointed (Ms Claydon) as Gusford’s headteacher earlier this year and is confident that the school is now improving.

Following Gusford’s latest inspection, the school was rated as ‘good’ in two categories and a number of improvements were highlighted, with inspectors stating that ‘the senior leadership team, governors and trustees are doing the right things to build on these recent improvements’ and are ‘tackling the remaining weaknesses with determination’.”

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County CouncilCouncillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council

Although education bosses believe Suffolk’s schools are heading in the right direction, council chiefs have said there is more work to be done.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education Gordon Jones said that altogether, across primary and secondary schools, 87% are rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted.

“Suffolk schools have made rapid progress since the Raising the Bar programme was launched,” he said.

“Suffolk is progressing faster than the national average and has narrowed the gap from 6% to less than 3%.”

But he added: “There is more to be done and we will continue support schools to drive up standards.”

Suffolk NUT secretary Graham White warned failing schools – particularly academies – must get the support they need if education bosses want the situation to improve.

He said: “Most academies failing to improve in Suffolk are in deprived areas.

“There is not enough focus on deprivation and how it can affect a school, particularly the children who go there.

“If you want schools to improve in Suffolk and nationally, you have to have better funding, recruit more headteachers, teachers and teaching assistants.

“In our view the focus of education also needs to change from purely academic to concentrating on pupils.”

But the head of Ofsted warned yesterday that disadvantaged pupils should not be used as an excuse.

Amanda Spielman said: “There is no doubt that the leadership challenge facing some schools is great.

“But progress is possible and we should all be wary of using the make-up of a school community as an excuse for under-performance.”

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