School report 'not true picture'

A HEADTEACHER has today defended her school, claiming an inspection report failed to reflect the true picture.

A HEADTEACHER has today defended her school, claiming an inspection report failed to reflect the true picture.

Jan Watson, headteacher at St Matthew's Primary School in Portman Road, Ipswich, said she felt Office in Standards in Education (OfSTED) inspectors did not spend enough time at the school during a recent visit.

Mrs Watson, who has been a headteacher at schools across the region for 23 years, said: “They did not see the school as we know it.

“They did not go into every class and have made their judgements on just a few observations.

“I am disappointed the report does not reflect the true picture of the great strides forward we have made. I particularly feel sorry for the staff, parents and children.”

Described as “satisfactory” by inspectors, the OfSTED report said the school needs to improve quality of teaching and ensure work set for highest attaining pupils is matched well to their needs.

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The report, which has been sent out to parents of the school's 339 pupils, also says there should be more focus on the development of pupil's speaking and listening skills.

It did praise the school on a number of areas including the range of extra-curricular activities, improved progress in English, mathematics and science and the high regard in which parents and pupils hold the school.

In a statement issued to The Star, OfSTED denied it spent insufficient time at the school.

It said: “The time allocated to the inspection of Saint Matthew's Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School was the standard amount for a school of its size.

“Since September 2005, Ofsted has adopted a shorter, more focused inspection framework, designed to make greater use of the schools self evaluation.

“In this case, the inspectors confirmed the school's own judgement that it was providing a satisfactory standard of education.”

Deputy headteacher Kelly Tattersall said: “The inspectors agreed with many of our views that we have already highlighted in our school improvement and development plans.

“However, the report should have highlighted more “good” areas within the school even if the overall conclusion remains the same. We have a clear vision of where the school is going and we are confident the significant improvements we have made are set to continue.”

Governor Jonathan Williamson, who has two children at the school, said: “Prospective parents want to know if a school is on the way up or on the way down. We know we are on the way up but this report does not fully reflect this.”

Do you have a child at St Matthew's Primary School? What do you think of the OfSTED inspection? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail to