Ofsted say improvements have begun at Brandon free school in special measures but more work is needed

Alison Tilbrook, headteacher at IES Breckland in Brandon. ENGANL00120140402114655
Alison Tilbrook, headteacher at IES Breckland in Brandon. ENGANL00120140402114655
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Education watchdogs say improvements have started at a free school in special measures but more work is needed to raise standards.

In Ofsted’s first monitoring inspection since IES Breckland, in Brandon, was placed in special measures in January, inspectors recognised the school’s improvement plan as ‘fit for purpose’ and producing results.

In a letter to the school’s head Alison Tilbrook, Inspector Christopher Moodie said: “You have already taken action to improve the quality of teaching. Much more work is needed but improvements have begun.

“The quality of marking, for example, has improved and students are receiving regular feedback in some of their lessons.”

However, he noted that ‘inconsistencies remain’ as marking ‘continues to be inadequate in some areas’.

Mr Moodie added: “You have rightly identified that teachers’ understanding of assessment is also inconsistent. It is clear from the scrutiny of students’ work that some teachers are inaccurately assessing, often over-stating, the quality of students’ work.

“You have identified this and it is in need of urgent intervention as it prevents the school from gaining a realistic understanding of students’ achievement. This, in turn, is limiting the capacity of teachers to provide work that suits the needs of different students.

“In too many classrooms, all students still do the same work, regardless of their abilities.”

Inspectors noted that the school has appointed more staff and found the statement of action by sponsor International English Schools UK as ‘fit for purpose’.

Mrs Tilbrook said: “The evaluation shows the positive course of action and outcomes in the school. The inspection recognises that steps we have taken have led to improvements, in both the education students receive and the general life of the school.

“It also confirms our views about where further improvements are needed and the areas we need to continue to work on.

“Improvement is taking place every day, but it is an ongoing process and there is still a long way to go.

“One positive monitoring inspection is a good start, but everyone at the school must continue to work hard to ensure the positive steps that we have taken so far are just the beginning.

“I recognise the issues that are mentioned within the report and we will continue to work on overcoming them.”

The school expects Ofsted to return mid-way through the next academic term.