School ‘disappointed’ with Ofsted report

Early years kids at St Mary's Church of England Academy in Mildenhall.
Early years kids at St Mary's Church of England Academy in Mildenhall.

A Mildenhall primary school has said it is ‘extremely disappointed’ to have been judged ‘required to improve’ by Ofsted.

Staff and governors at St Mary’s Cof E Academy said high standards of teaching were not reflected in the report.

They said that during July’s inspection 45 per cent of lessons were judged to be outstanding and a further 40 per cent good.

Principal Wendy Garrard said: “We are proud of our children.

“Progress and attainment in KS1 is above national expectations.

“Standards in Key Stage 2 are broadly in line with national averages, however, this is now not considered good enough and so we intend to identify ways to improve even further.”

Ofsted found that older pupils were not making consistently good progress, achievement varied too much across subjects and teaching was not always tailored to meet students’ needs.

Among the strengths recognised by Ofsted was ‘highly successful teaching and care in the early years’ foundation stage’.

St Mary’s was also praised for the way spiritual, social, moral and cultural aspects of the curriculum aided students’ development.

The school became an academy in 2011. As a result it is treated as a new school by Ofsted, limiting the results that can be taken into account.

Mrs Garrard said: “It is interesting to note that many schools are being advised to make further improvements.

“However, the Ofsted procedures are not consistent as there are schools where they have been judged good with results that are lower than St Mary’s.”

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “Inspectors always take into account the current performance of the school and evaluate achievement over time. The inspection of this school took place almost two years after it was converted to become an academy.

“We stand by our report, which found that the school was not good for several reasons, among them the fact that older pupils do not make consistently good progress because the quality of teaching has been varied since the academy opened.”