Ipswich: Head’s improvement pledge after school’s critical report

Wendy James, head at Sidegate Primary School in Ipswich

Wendy James, head at Sidegate Primary School in Ipswich

THE headteacher at Sidegate Primary School has pledged to make improvements after being handed a damning inspection report by Ofsted.

Following a visit from inspectors, the school has been given an “inadequate” rating and told that significant changes must be made.

The school had previously been rated as “satisfactory” following a report published in 2010.

Four inspectors visited the 698-pupil school in Sidegate Lane in late November and in his report, lead inspector Peter Lacey-Hastings classed it as having “serious weaknesses”.

The achievement of pupils and quality of teaching were both deemed “inadequate” while pupil behaviour and leadership and management also require improvement.

“Teaching quality varies too much across the school,” the report says. “There have been recent improvements in the quality of teaching. However, there is not enough consistently good teaching to enable all pupils in all year groups to make the expected rates of progress over time, especially in mathematics.

“Teachers’ marking of pupils’ work and verbal feedback about how well they are doing does not focus strongly enough on helping pupils to see how they can improve their work. Neither do pupils have enough time to follow up on teachers’ marking to show what they have learnt.”

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Inspectors do acknowledge the efforts already being made to enable the school to make progress and will make a return inspection to gauge the response to the report.

The report adds: “Leaders work closely with the local authority and other external support that is bought in by the school. This has focused on improving teaching and helping leaders understand information about pupils’ progress. This has resulted in recent rates of progress for pupils being increased and has helped to show that the school knows what to do to improve.”

Headteacher Wendy James said the inspection team had recognised the impact recent changes had made on children’s attainment and progress.

She said: “Staff and governors will continue to focus on securing, sustaining and building upon these improvements. They will continue to work closely with the local authority’s Learning and Improvement Service, external advisors and other local schools to ensure that all opportunities for development are explored and that the school community is supported to achieve the required improvements.”