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Ofsted letter May 2015

Dear Parents and Carers

 

The report from our recent Ofsted inspection, which took place on 30th April and 1st May, is now on our website. It will appear on the Ofsted website from Tuesday 2nd June.  

 

Schools can be given one of four grades from Ofsted. Our school has been given grade three. This is a change from the good grading which we received in February 2012 which used to be known as ‘satisfactory’ but is now called ‘requires improvement’. I am writing to explain the messages in the report and the context in which the judgements were made.

 

The inspectors noted a number of strengths of the School in terms of pupil’s behaviour and attitude and also the leadership of the School.  However, most of the judgements were made based on historical pupil progress data from 2013 and 2014. They do not necessarily reflect the position of the school now.  Further details are given below.

 

The data in 2013 and 2014 showed that most children made progress which we would expect them to make. However, one of the issues for inspectors was that the gaps in results and progress for children who receive free school meals, and those who do not, had been wider at Albany Juniors than in other schools nationally. Another concern, was the number of children reaching level 5 in Reading, Writing and Maths. This was significantly below national averages in 2014. Not enough of our children had made more progress than we would have expected them to. This is a target for us moving forward which we had already identified.

 

As a result, our achievement and teaching grades could be no higher than ‘requires improvement’. Inspectors were concerned particularly with the progress since year 3 of our current year 6 children. This was a target from the last inspection. However, the inspectors have been keen to show the success we have introduced this year to tackle this underachievement.

 

This current year, all year groups, particularly years 3 and 4, have made excellent progress. We are very happy that the inspectors have acknowledged the improvements in teaching, progress and attainment across the school since September 2014. They have also acknowledged that we have been successful in raising the attainment of our children who receive free school meals across the school and this has meant that gaps between different groups of children have closed rapidly.

 

We are really pleased that the inspectors have made it very clear that we have made a lot of progress since September 2014 in other areas. When we asked what grading we would be if we were only judged on this year we were told it was highly likely it would be good. We also asked if there was anything we could have done to change the overall judgement in this inspection. We were told this again was also highly unlikely. We have to accept the judgement and have already started working on all of the targets. We are currently taking actions towards each one. At some point later this term, we will be visited by an Inspector from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate to check on the progress we have made. I will keep you informed of their feedback.

 

As indicated earlier, the inspectors noted a number of strengths, notably:

  • Behaviour is good. This is because staff help pupils to get on with everyone, whatever their background or ability.
  • Pupils are polite and courteous young people. Parents, staff and governors all say behaviour is good. This is because staff behave considerately towards pupils and praise them when they make sensible decisions.
  • The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is good. Pupils learn to keep themselves safe in and outside of school. Assemblies and class sessions develop their awareness of the dangers around them.
  • Pupils have positive attitudes to their work and are keen to show visitors the contents of their books. They are well prepared for lessons and readily respond to their teachers, whom they clearly like. This is because staff plan exciting projects which interest them.

 

It was also good that the inspector reported that the leadership of the school know what they are doing and that the school is continuing to improve. The inspector recognised the work which has been done to improve teaching and that this has had a very positive impact on progress of all groups of children, their comments are reproduced below:

 

  • The Headteacher leads the school well. Although new in post, he has already identified where improvements are needed and has eliminated the weak teaching which existed in the past.
  • All leaders and staff are committed to improving the school. The leadership team and staff work diligently to create a happy atmosphere, where pupils behave well, attend regularly and care for each other.
  • The curriculum is broad and balanced and enhanced by a range of educational visits and topics which bring learning to life and enrich pupils’ experience of school.
  • Inspection evidence shows that this year progress made by children who receive free school meals has improved. The gap for year 6 children, who receive free school meals, has been reduced significantly. This is because leaders now monitor achievement more rigorously and provide good support if they slip behind.
  • The school has identified where pupils have gaps in their understanding and is taking appropriate measures to address them. As a result, pupils in Years 3 and 4 are making faster progress in reading, writing and maths.

 

We hope you share in our confidence that we know our school, we know exactly where we are and what we need to focus on to continue aiming for excellence at all levels. Albany Junior School is a wonderful school and provides a great all round education. Continuing to work together and supporting each other will ensure a very positive future for the school and, most importantly, that every single child attending our school is given the opportunity to shine! A sincere thank you on behalf of all the staff and the governing body; your support is very much appreciated.

 

The full report can be found on the school’s website, but of course, you are welcome to pick up a paper copy from the office if you would prefer. If you would like to discuss the report I am happy to do so. Please make an appointment through the school office.

 

 

Yours truly

 

 

 

 

Craig Robertson