School 'failing', inspectors say

A SUFFOLK school is today 'failing' according to inspectors. Halifax Primary School in Prince of Wales Drive, Ipswich, is due to be put into 'special measures' by Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspectors, the Local Education Authority (LEA) - Suffolk County Council - has today confirmed.

A SUFFOLK school is today 'failing' according to inspectors.

Halifax Primary School in Prince of Wales Drive, Ipswich, is due to be put into 'special measures' by Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspectors, the Local Education Authority (LEA) - Suffolk County Council - has today confirmed.

The school, which acts as a feeder school for Stoke High School, is criticised in a report expected to be published “imminently” by Ofsted.

Kevin Tomlin, headteacher, said: “While we are all very disappointed by the report, we acknowledge that there is a need for significant improvements in a number aspects of the school's work and we are determined to secure these improvements as quickly as possible for the good of the children.


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“We had already begun addressing some of the issues as part of the school's Improvement Plan and will now be producing a further Action Plan.”

A spokesman for the LEA said inspectors identified weaknesses in a number of key areas.

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He said: “The school has been put into 'special measures' to ensure that the necessary improvements are carried out and is currently working closely with the LEA to draw up an action plan detailing what the school will be doing to address the key issues identified in the report.”

The report identifies weaknesses in leadership and management, the quality of teaching, standards of achievement and the systems for dealing with challenging behaviour, the spokesman added.

He said the report made a number of recommendations to the school including,

Improve the quality of leadership and management through the use of rigorous monitoring and evaluation procedures.

Improve the quality of teaching and learning by ensuring that all lessons are well planned and sufficiently challenging to raise standards.

Make more use of assessment data to monitor pupil progress.

Ensure the curriculum is balanced.

Secure consistency in the management of pupil behaviour.

Ian Brown, area education manager for the LEA, said: “The Local Education Authority is working with the school to support it in writing its Action Plan. We will be monitoring the school's progress closely, and helping it to ensure that improvements are made in order to provide the best education for all pupils at the school.”

Is your child at Halifax Primary? What do you think about the school? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

HALIFAX primary's chair of governors today spoke of a 'strong team spirit' and a determination to improve the stricken school.

Irene Wragg said the school will work hard to “ensure that the school regains its status as a good school as soon as possible.”

She added: “There is a strong team spirit within the school and staff and governors are united in their determination to bring about the improvements the report has highlighted as necessary.

The school was visited by Ofsted inspectors in October.

A spokesman for the Local Education Authority said: “The report recognises that the school has a number of strengths, the key ones being:

Its caring and inclusive approach

Staff work hard to support pupils and to provide positive role models

The care for pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities is good and these pupils make good progress

Most pupils have positive attitudes and enjoy coming to school

Suffolk secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Martin Goold said he was worried the 'special measures' label would not help the school.

He added: “The NUT is very concerned at the approach of Ofsted. We believe that putting schools in special measures does not help schools. Special measures make things much more difficult for staff to do their best for the children. It means an extra workload to meet the demands of Ofsted.

“We have every sympathy with the school. It is not an easy thing to happen and is so often without justification.”

Mr Goold said he was saddened to hear the news just a fortnight after Kirkley Middle School in Lowestoft came out of 'special measures', a move which had left the county free of failing schools.

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