Head ‘determined to succeed’ after Billingshurst school branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted

JPCT 280414 S14181577x  Billingshurst Primary School Ofsted. Head with some of pupils -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140428-112240001
JPCT 280414 S14181577x Billingshurst Primary School Ofsted. Head with some of pupils -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140428-112240001

Staff at Billingshurst Primary School say they are ‘disappointed’ after it was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

But this week the headteacher said she is not fazed by the report and is confident standards will be raised.

The school, in Station Road, was ranked ‘inadequate’ in the quality of teaching and the achievement of pupils in its most recent Ofsted report.

The behaviour and safety of pupils ‘require improvement’, as does the leadership and management.

Officials concluded the school has ‘serious weaknesses’ but did not fall into special measures.

Headteacher Helen Williamson said plans are already in place to vigorously improve aspects of the school before its next inspection.

“Although we are obviously disappointed at the outcome of the report, I am absolutely confident that we are taking the steps to ensure that the school becomes a good school as soon as possible and Ofsted recognised that in their report,” explained the head.

“They acknowledge that the leadership of the school has the capacity to bring this about quickly. I am not fazed by this report; in fact it gives us even greater impetus to achieve this outcome more quickly.”

She told the County Times improvements have been made at the school since it combined four years ago from two separate infant and primary schools into one.

The head continued: “We are really pleased that Ofsted have recognised that we are making progress in improving the school. Neither the governors or I underestimated the challenge we faced in improving the school following the amalgamation in 2010.”

Strengths commented on in the report include the safety of the children, how well the children conduct themselves and how proud the children are of the school.

Ofsted inspectors observed teaching in 25 lessons.

They also held meetings with a group of pupils, the chair of the governing body, school staff, and a representative from the local authority.

Inspectors took account of the 45 responses to a staff questionnaire and the 125 responses to an online questionnaire filled out by parents.

Ofsted define a ranking of inadequate as ‘a school that has serious weaknesses and requires significant improvement’. The school will be subject to regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors. Staff demonstrated the capacity to improve standards and this is ultimately the reason why it was not placed in special measures.

In a statement, the headteacher said: ““Throughout the report the inspectors refer to how things have been, which have affected the result at Year 6 but more often they refer to how things have improved. Under the current Ofsted framework, the data over the last three years is the most important factor in determining the judgement by Ofsted and this has resulted in the judgement of serious weaknesses. I am not fazed by this report; in fact I think it gives us even more determination to succeed. Our current school improvement plans already identify how the issues Ofsted have raised will be addressed and by when. We are revising our plans to further tighten the timescales. Teachers are being supported to make sure that the children are achieving the best progress and the highest standards.

“This is a school where the children behave fabulously, where they are happy and learning well and where the staff are dedicated and extremely hard working. Although we may not recognise every aspect of the Ofsted report’s findings, particularly about the behaviour of the children, we are all absolutely determined to address these issues rapidly. The community support the school so effectively and have been a major part of the progress we have made so far. My ambition for the school is to make the most rapid progress from this judgement and to achieve a good Ofsted in record time – and I believe we can do this. We will then work towards our ultimate goal of outstanding.

“Our children are our greatest asset and we will not falter in our ambition and drive to make this the best school in every possible way, not only in the eyes of Ofsted but most importantly in the eyes of our children and families.”