School in special measures

Heanor Howitt primary
Heanor Howitt primary
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A Heanor primary school has been put in special measures after a Government report found it ‘inadequate.’

Inspectors from The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) visited Howitt Primary Community School, on Holmes Street, in October.

The achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching and leadership and management were all rated inadequate, while the behaviour and safety of pupils requires improvement. The school was rated as ‘satisfactory’ at its last inspection in January 2012.

The report said: “Pupils’ attainment is well below average and their progress is too slow. There are few signs of improvement.

“Achievement is particularly poor for some groups, such as boys, those eligible for the pupil premium, disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs.

“There is not enough good teaching to ensure that pupils make adequate progress. The pace of lessons is often slow and the work provided for less-able pupils asks too little of them. As a result, they fall behind.

“In some lessons, boys do too little work. They lose concentration and let girls answer the large majority of the questions.

“Teachers do not always insist on high standards of behaviour; this slows down learning. There is some poor attendance by pupils eligible for the pupil premium. The leaders make too little use of the information they gather on pupils’ achievements to help those falling behind.

“The systems for managing teachers’ performance provide insufficient guidance how to improve the quality of their teaching and ensure all pupils make enough progress.”

The school, on Holmes Street, has 415 pupils aged three to 11, and was inspected over two days in early October. It has a higher than average number of children who qualify for free school meals and a higher proportion than average of students with special educational needs.

Following their inspection, inspectors recommended the school: improve the quality of teaching in order to better motivate children and improve the impact of leadership and management to hold teachers to account for the progress of pupils.

In the school’s favour, inspectors also noted that pupils feel safe and free from bullying and that ‘the school provides good support to pupils who find it hard to behave well.’

The school says an action plan has been put in place to improve standards.

The school’s new headteacher Pam Purdon, who took up her post in September, said that although the report was disappointing, she was committed to driving the school forward.

She said: “This is a great school with a great team and I am committed to building upon what is already strong while improving those areas that need to be developed.

“Myself, staff and governors are united in our determination to lift the school out of special measures and have already taken firm, positive action to improve the quality of teaching and learning in all classes.

“I’m confident we can address the issues highlighted in the report with clear plans for what needs to be done.”