I have been a member of the Governors for a number of years and have seen the school respond admirably to many challenges. I was delighted to be adopted as the Chair of the Board last summer as I have always recognised the conscientious work that leaders, teachers and support provide throughout. The recent OFSTED inspection came at a time of significant trauma and challenges for all staff and the Governors have a number of reservations about how it was conducted over a little more than a day.
However, some of the weaknesses had already been identified and all will be remedied while we further build on the significant strengths which were recognised in the report, including the very high levels of parental/carer and pupil appreciation of the School and the support it provides.
The latest inspection report has now been published, however, considering events surrounding the inspection the Governing Body feels that it is important that we make this contextual statement to accompany the report.
The inspection took place on the 11th and 12th of January 2023. This was originally scheduled for the last week of the Autumn Term, however, it was deferred due to the tragic and unexpected death of our Early Years Lead teacher, Mrs Bishop. This death deeply affected her colleagues of ten years and impacted on every aspect of school life at the time. The Christmas break was seen as a short reprieve from the group trauma and it was hoped that in the following term we would have a chance to heal and regroup after this event. However, OFSTED did return after less than ten working days as it was our understanding that a further deferment was not allowed. We requested that as this was such a short period after Mrs Bishops’ death that its impact be made clear in the final report. This was not the case and after protracted discussions with OFSTED there is no acknowledgment of the traumatic previous term that not only included the death of a colleague but also the effect of our Deputy Head and a member of our support staff also being off for Cancer treatment.
The report recognises our strong Maths and English provision and the progress made in developing this. It also recognises that behaviour and attitudes of our pupils is good and that we keep them safe in school. It also praises our overall support of pupil personal development through the wider curriculum.
During the inspection, we had three temporary teachers in post, who despite doing an excellent job had only been part of the school for one term. This meant that a lot of what was put in place since our short inspection in October 2021 had not had time to fully embed, despite us already seeing its benefits. Alongside this the loss of permanent staff meant that a number of key responsibilities that were previously shared had now become the sole responsibility of the Head, stretching his capacity and meaning that some leadership roles had to be temporarily downsized.
The inspection was carried out by two inspectors over two days, with the second afternoon being mainly dedicated to writing up their opinions. There were a number of issues in regard to the inspection process that were questioned by us through the OFSTED complaints procedures. These were:
These complaints, whilst being acknowledged by OFSTED, none of them were effectively acknowledged in the final report. The only change being a statement that not all leaders were present at the time of the inspection. This is of course frustrating, but we felt it important to share these concerns with you before you read the report.
I can assure you that we know our school provides a good level of education for all our pupils and that we are committed to the well-being and future of all our school community.
Please feel free to contact the Head or Chair of Governors should you wish to discuss this report.
Chair of Governors