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School in special measures 'no further forward' but shows 'signs of recent improvement'

Howard Community Primary School. Picture: Mark Westley.
Howard Community Primary School. Picture: Mark Westley.

A Bury St Edmunds school in special measures is ‘no further forward’ - but there are ‘signs of recent improvement’, according to Ofsted.

Howard Community Primary School remains ‘inadequate’ as most of the areas recommended for improvement ‘remain unresolved’, the education watchdog judged following a monitoring inspection last month.

However, inspector John Mitcheson said interim executive headteacher Nichola Connor and the school’s new team of senior leaders are ‘all experienced and effective’.

In his report to Miss Connor, he said: “There are clear signs of recent improvement.

“You have rightly prioritised improving behaviour, identifying and meeting the needs of the school’s most vulnerable learners, planning staff training and ensuring that pupils in Year 6 are ready for national tests this term.”

He noted that while improvement plans are in place, it is ‘far too early to gauge the impact’ of their work.

There are clear signs of recent improvement - Ofsted

Suffolk County Council and the school’s academy sponsor The Chilford Hundred Education Trust (CHET) have ‘worked much more collaboratively to provide the school with new leadership’.

Howard Primary was rated ‘inadequate’ last year and CHET was confirmed as its academy sponsor in March.

The school currently remains under local authority control and it is anticipated Howard Primary will open as an academy in September.

Interviews for a substantive head were held earlier this term but no appointment was made.

Toby Slater Robins, Chairman of Governors at Howard Primary School....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.. (2431719)
Toby Slater Robins, Chairman of Governors at Howard Primary School....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.. (2431719)

In a letter to parents, Toby Slater Robins, chairman of governors, said it was ‘essential we appoint the right headteacher’ and the post will be advertised again in July.

In a statement to the Bury Free Press about the inspection, he said: “It’s clearly disappointing that we couldn’t show more progress during this visit.

“However, the report does recognise a more positive outlook as we move towards academy conversion.”

He added that there is a ‘determination to make Howard Primary a fantastic school’.

  • The school is appealing for parents and members of the community to apply to become school governors. Those who are interested are invited to an information event at the school, in Beard Road, on Tuesday, June 26 at 6pm.

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