Ipswich: Term-time holidays to blame for school’s poor attendance, report states

A HEADTEACHER has pledged to make improvements in the wake of an Ofsted report on his school

“My aspiration is for this school to be judged as an outstanding school,” said Gusford Primary headteacher Colin Tapscott, after the school was judged “satisfactory” overall by Ofsted.

Mr Tapscott is determined to take the positives from the report.

“The school has improved considerably since the last inspection (in 2008),” he said. “The report contains a lot of positive comments on progress around behaviour, teaching and learning.

“Teachers work really hard and that’s shown in the progress that we’ve made. There is also an overwhelmingly positive view from parents.”

Positive aspects highlighted about the Sheldrake Drive school include pupils’ good behaviour, safety and general happiness.

However, the report does raise concerns about achievements and absences, stating: “Pupils do not make consistently good progress in lessons,” and “attendance rates are below average.”

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In relation to attendance, the report states: “Although pupils say how much they enjoy coming to school, their attendance is a little below average.

“This is not due to truanting but because, for example, some families take holidays in term time.”

The school plans to work harder to help families realise the impact absences have on learning.

One of the main issues raised concerns matching work to pupils’ abilities – with more able students often left unchallenged.

Mr Tapscott said: “One of the things we’re looking at is the way we set tasks to focus on stretching more able students.”

He added: “What they’ve identified are things we’d already identified as things we need to work on,” said Mr Tapscott. “Every school requires improvement and we will use these targets to raise the game.”