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Significant progress being made at school
Thursday, 15 January 2015
ADVANCES? in achievement are being made by children at a Tavistock school which was placed into special measures in November, Ofsted inspectors have reported.
Inspectors from the education watchdog, who returned to St Peter’s Junior School just before Christmas, said detailed information on pupils’ achievement showed progress had significantly sped up since the inspection.
The improvements have been made under the leadership of Jane Byrne, who took over as acting executive headteacher of the federated St Rumon’s Infants and St Peter’s Church of England Schools last term.
Mrs Byrne has now been succeeded by the new permanent headteacher, Chris Conners.
Lead Ofsted inspector Catherine Leahy said that an increasing proportion of the pupils were making good progress in English and maths and pupils were working harder and being pushed more.
‘Parents now have greater confidence in the leadership of the school,’ she said.
‘They say their children are noticeably more engaged with their learning and have a better understanding of the progress they are making.
‘Pupils’ success is now actively celebrated. This is encouraging them to achieve higher standards.’
Last term Ofsted ruled that St Peter’s required special measures because pupils’ achievement and teaching was inadequate and leaders had not ensured that it had improved.
Mrs Byrne, the executive head of Ermington and Ugborough primaries, was seconded to lead St Peter’s and St Rumon’s schools up to Christmas.
In her monitoring letter to the acting head, Mrs Leahy said: ‘You are taking appropriate actions to set the school on the path to improvement.
‘You and the governors have responded positively to the inspection and are determined to improve pupils’ progress and raise standards.
‘Staff have confidence in the work you are doing to improve the school.
‘As a result, teachers are motivated and striving to improve their practise.
‘Classrooms are vibrant and well organised to support learning.
‘You have rightly concentrated your efforts on improving teaching and pupils’ progress.’
She said Mrs Byrne, the governors and Devon County Council had drawn up an action plan with clear, measurable targets for improving teaching and pupils’ achievement.
She added: ‘Governors are committed and ambitious for the school.
‘The local authority has provided a range of effective external support.
‘Local authority leaders have shown their continuing commitment to the school by agreeing to further support during the forthcoming leadership changes.’
New head Chris Conners, who grew up in Plymouth, was previously head of Kemble and Siddington primary schools in Gloucestershire.
When he took over there, both primaries were judged satisfactory by Ofsted. Their latest ratings are good and good with outstanding features.
Mr Conners said he was really excited to take on the new role: ‘I had a wonderful week last week and was welcomed by pupils, parents, staff and governors.
‘It is very clear that people are focused 100 per cent on education and it’s fantastic to see the achievements already being made.
‘In time we want to build on our strengths to ensure that our children receive a truly outstanding level of education.’
Chair of governors Gareth Dempster said: ‘We are delighted with the work that Jane Byrne did last term and the very positive judgements of Ofsted on how that has benefited our children’s achievement and progress.
‘We are very grateful for Jane’s massive contribution.
‘We were pleased to be able to appoint Chris Conners as headteacher and we are confident he is the man to continue to lead both schools to excellence and build upon the strong foundations which Jane has established in the past few months.’
All content © of Tavistock Times Gazette unless stated otherwise.
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