Heads speak out over Horsham schools’ performance ratings

Southwater Junior Academy SUS-181218-133004001
Southwater Junior Academy SUS-181218-133004001

Headteachers in the Horsham area have spoken out over their schools’ ratings in new league tables.

The ratings have been revealed this week by the Department for Education.

Among schools rated ‘Below Average’ in reading, writing and arithmetic is Billingshurst Primary - previously rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted. Southwater Junior Academy in Worthing Road, Southwater, has received similar ratings - and was also rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted last year.

Billingshurst headteacher Helen Williamson said that the data was ‘only one part of the story’ adding: “There are no poor schools in Horsham.” She said the school had a number of children who had joined in Year 5 which meant that figures were distorted.

“The most important thing is that this school is a place where children learn well and are excited by learning. They learn a broad curriculum.”

Southwater Junior Academy headteacher Rebecca Toogood said: “Progress is only one of a number of measures used to rate schools and academies across the UK. As a junior academy, we would refer you to the statement published on the DfE website regarding progress results for junior schools which states: ‘We know from national data that pupils at junior schools, on average, have higher attainment scores at the end of key stage 2 than pupils at all other primary schools. However, on average, they also have lower progress scores. This may be for a variety of reasons and should be taken into account when comparing their results to schools which start educating their pupils from the beginning of key stage 1.’

“We are proud of the success all our pupils during their time at Southwater Junior Academy which is a direct result of the hard work and resilience they, their teachers and parents/carers put in each and every year.”

Colgate Primary School in Blackhouse Road, Colgate, was rated ‘well below average’ in writing amd maths and ‘average’ in reading, despite the school also being rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted last year.

Headteacher Rebecca Winn said: “Being a small school, each year’s data is affected by very small numbers of children. We put all our efforts in achieving the best outcomes we can for all of our children.

“If a child joins us very late through their primary phase or has significant learning needs, we can’t make these children perform to the standards the government deem as ‘expected’.

“We focus on every child feeling nurtured, confident, capable and inspired to be their best. Where this may not fit into a generic SATs outcome, it can be seen in so many ways as they move onto Secondary school. Ofsted inspected our school a year ago, graded us as ‘good’ and also reported on the data situation we find ourselves in:‘The relatively small numbers of pupils in each year group mean that nationally published outcomes do not always give an accurate picture of pupils’ learning. Teachers’ assessments and the work in pupils’ books demonstrate pupils’ strong progress in reading, writing and mathematics.’

“There are so many elements to a child’s education. Being able to pass a test that allows the DfE to grade schools is just one small part of a child’s experience. While we understand that we have to be measured we musn’t forget that ultimately we are labelling children’s educational journeys.”

St Mary’s CofE Primary School in Pulborough was rated ‘well below average’ in all three Rs, despite also being rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted at its last inspection.

Acting headteacher Samantha Copus said: “We recognise that the Key Stage Two results this year were disappointing for the school and the Year 6 who worked so hard. We were pleased with our Early Years, Phonics and Key Stage One results.

“There have been recent leadership changes and a renewed focus on high quality teaching and we are confident that children at St Mary’s receive a positive start to their education and results will improve this coming year for Key Stage Two.”

Results for Ashington CofE First School in Foster Lane showed ‘well below average’ in writing and maths and ‘below average’ in reading. The school was rated Good by Ofsted last year.

Headteacher Pip Fairweather said: “What the newly published league tables do not show is that 85 per cent of our pupils reached the expected standard in writing (our children’s writing was externally moderated) and this is well above the national average for Writing. Eighty five per cent of our pupils achieved the expected standard in grammar, punctuation and spelling which is also significantly above the national average and 77 per cent achieved the expected standard in reading, again above the national average.

“Sixty five per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard in mathematics which is below the national expectation and this was a cohort specific issue. The figure of 54 per cent achieving the floor standard represents the children who achieved the expected standard in all subjects.

“We did have children achieve Greater Depth in each subject but no child achieved Greater Depth in all subjects. The league tables do not show these figures.”

For the full results see:

https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&region=938&la-name=west-sussex&geographic=la&for=primary&orderby=ks2.0.PTRWM_EXP&orderdir=asc&datatype=percent&sortpolicy=inversepolicy

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