School will cut class sizes in Ofsted hope
MILLBROOK Primary School in Freshbrook are seeking to expand their site to reduce class sizes and help them attain a better Ofsted result.
The school has lodged a planning application with Swindon Council to construct a new timber framed classroom building, allowing for smaller classes.
In 2012 the schools inspectorate rated Millbrook ‘satisfactory’, after efforts from new headteacher Karen Ryman and freshly appointed staff brought education levels back up from below the national average.
In the 2012 report, Ofsted inspectors commented: “Since the last inspection, the school has gone through a significant change of leadership and staff.
“As a result, pupils’ past academic standards declined to well below national averages. Significant improvements mean that achievement is now satisfactory around the school.”
But the head wants to improve further by breaking up the class sizes to create more focused learning.
“We are trying to have smaller class sizes because we are working hard to improve our attribution at the moment,” she said.
“We want to move to being a good or outstanding school, and one way we thought we could do that was by having smaller class sizes and, if possible, having individual year groups.
“We currently have a one and a quarter form entry, so we have 45 in each year group. Usually we have had year groups quite mixed, so we are hoping to have two separate year five and two year six groups, instead of having three mixed years five and six groups.
“We will then have between 20 and 22 pupils in each class. We think that is one of the best things we can do to improve the performance of the school.”
She added that places in pre-schools in West Swindon are in high demand, and Millbrook may be forced to expand further when they can afford to.
“We do have a waiting list of children coming through for both the pre-school and year one and year two classes,” she said.
“At the moment you can’t get a reception place in West Swindon as all the schools are fully subscribed.
“We are not planning to increase our intake number at the moment because we cannot afford to.
“We are trying to do what we can for the children we have here already. That is not to say we will not do so in the future, but we are trying to do the best for the children we have. We want to give them the best possible.
“If we can get a two form entry all the way through the school, then we would be able to look at taking more children.
“We are hoping to get this within the next three months, and it will hopefully be in part of our garden area.
“It will not be visible from the road and not too close to the neighbours properties.
“Back in the 1980s this school housed 900 pupils, and currently we have 308 in the school and 60 in the pre-school.
“Originally the building was designed to have a permanent extension put on it, so that is something we might do in the future.”
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