School told to pull up its socks

This Is Wiltshire: Oliver Tomkins School Oliver Tomkins School

CONSISTENCY is lacking at Oliver Tomkins Junior School say Ofsted inspectors, who found the school required improvement if it was to meet Government expectations.

The Toothill school was inspected on June 10 and 11 by Ofsted representatives Andrew Saunders and Jan Edwards, who found only one of the categories assessed could be described as ‘good’ at the school.

While the behaviour and safety of pupils was praised, achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership was judged sub-standard.

The inspectors said: “Teaching is not consistently good and pupils do not make enough progress across the school.

“At times teachers do not expect enough of pupils, including the most able, and this holds them back.

“Pupils in Years Three and Four do not make as rapid progress as older pupils, particularly in their mathematics.

“Pupils who benefit from additional support do not all make enough progress. There is a gap between the standards they reach and those of other pupils in their year groups.

“Leaders and managers, including governors, have not had a strong enough impact on improving teaching and achievement across all year groups.

“Senior leaders’ checks on teaching and the progress of groups of pupils are not sufficiently effective in securing improvements.

“At times leaders are too optimistic in their interpretation of the evidence.

“Governors have not challenged the school enough to ensure that the additional funding for some pupils is enabling them to reach higher standards.”

The school is described as slightly smaller than average size, with two classes in each year group.

The proportion of pupils benefiting from pupil premium funding was nearly double the national average. The government aid assists pupils known to be eligible for free school meals and those children who are looked after.

Despite the criticism, inspectors found the quality of teaching had improved since the previous inspection, with inadequate teaching eliminated.

The support offered by staff to disabled pupils and those with special educational needs ensured they made good progress.

The behaviour of pupils was considered good. They were seen to enjoy lessons and eagerly improved their work, with attendance above average.

Inspectors said: “Pupils feel safe at school. Governors and leaders make sure that statutory requirements are met, including those to keep pupils safe.

“Most issues raised at the previous inspection have been tackled well. Marking is consistent and effective. Pupils have good opportunities to check their work and there are more practical activities to support learning.”

The school would be inspected in the next two years.

Headteacher Rhian Cockwell said: “We would like to praise all children for their hard work, good manners and consideration toward one another.

“As the team reported, the behaviour of pupils is good. They are very keen to work hard, eagerly improve their work and enjoy the topics they study. Around the school they are courteous to adults and kind to one another.

“This makes the school a harmonious place to learn and develop. “ “The report also acknowledges that there has been a strong focus on the quality of feedback given to pupils, both verbally and through the written comments teachers and teaching assistants make about pupils’ work.

“This is now a strength of the school. Pupils appreciate the way they are helped to improve what they are doing.”

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