The goalposts keep shifting, says head
5:30am Saturday 8th March 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
SHIFTING goalposts are denying Beechcroft Infant School an outstanding rating after Ofsted rated it good for the third time in succession, according to headteacher Jo-Anne Rutt.
The education watchdog inspected the Stratton school at the end of January and published its results last week.
The Beechcroft Road school has been rated as good across the board, the same standard it achieved in 2008 and 2010 inspections under a previous leadership team.
Jo-Anne, who took on the leading role at the school in September, was relieved to see the school retain its status, but felt a shifting landscape in education inspections has made it difficult for Beechcroft to step up.
“We were pleased because we have heard of other schools moving from other categories in recent inspections and being downgraded,” she said.
“It’s been hard to know exactly how we’ve been doing because there’s been so many changes since September.
“It’s a great period of instability for education. With all the changes coming in, with special educational needs and other things, it’s a very turbulent time for schools.
“Everything is brand new. You can’t turn to anyone and ask for advice. The previous headteacher is a friend of mine and she has been invaluable.
“Enthusiasm of the staff certainly isn’t stopping us from becoming outstanding. The goal posts are shifting all the time. Their grading system is ever-changing.”
Jo-Anne has been at the school since 2005, when she was a teacher, and moved up to become a deputy headteacher in 2011. She said the continuity she has taken into the top jobs has been important in retaining the school’s status.
In Ofsted’s findings, the lead inspector said the school was not yet outstanding for several reasons.
They said: “Pupils do not make the corrections that would improve their work after they get feedback from their teachers.
“When learning to read, pupils do not learn the sounds that groups of letters make quickly enough.
“School leaders at all levels use the information they have on how well pupils are doing to track the progress of different groups of pupils. However, this could be done more easily and efficiently to spot trends in the progress groups of pupils are making.”
In identifying the school’s strengths, the inspector said: “Pupils feel safe and well looked after and this is due to the good work by the school.
“Relationships in school between the pupils and with the adults who work with them are good.
“Pupils’ behaviour in lessons is good and pupils have a good attitude to learning.
“The school is well led by the new headteacher who is supported by a strong middle-leadership team. Members of the leadership team work well together and have a clear focus on raising the quality of teaching in the school.”
Jo-Anne said the school was broadly pleased with the results and felt the inspection offered a crucial benchmark for herself and her leadership team as they move forward.
As a new team working together, she said the findings reassured them they are doing the right things.