Staff at Horncastle School ‘working tirelessly’ following disappointing Ofsted inspection

Pupils at the daily breakfast club held at Horncastle Community Primary School. EMN-191102-093747001
Pupils at the daily breakfast club held at Horncastle Community Primary School. EMN-191102-093747001

The headteacher at Horncastle Community Primary School has said staff are ‘working tirelessly’ to improve following a disappointing Ofsted inspection that said it ‘Requires Improvement’.

Ofsted published the report last week, after visiting the school in January this year.

Inspectors concluded that the effectiveness of leadership and management, personal development, behaviour and welfare and early years provision are all ‘Good’, but overall effectiveness and the quality of teaching, learning and assessment ‘Requires Improvement’.

Horncastle Community Primary School’s last inspection was conducted in January 2009, when the school was rated ‘Outstanding’.

Steve Bladon has been headteacher at the school for just under 18 months. He said: “We’ve made huge progress in the last 17 months.

“When I arrived, I effectively became the fourth headteacher in as many years.”

The report summarised the main reasons that the school requires improvement, such as ‘the quality of teaching and learning across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 being inconsistent’ and ‘too few pupils, including those who are disadvantaged, making the progress they should in reading, writing and mathematics by the end of Key Stage 2’.

It also states that ‘over recent years, the progress pupils make in reading, writing and mathematics during their time at the school has declined’ and that ‘in 2018, the progress made by pupils in those subjects was below the national average’.

The report also highlighted the difficulties that the school has experienced since the last inspection.

The inspector said: “The school has been through a significant period of turbulence.

“For several years, there was considerable instability in senior leadership, which had a negative impact on the quality of teaching and learning.

“However, during the last year, a new highly skilled headteacher and deputy headteacher were appointed to the school.

“Senior leaders have worked tirelessly to bring rapid and necessary change to the school.”

The report also highlighted strengths at the school, including ‘senior leaders having brought stability and renewed energy to the leadership of the school’ and ‘children in the early years making a good start to their school lives’.

In a letter to parents, Mr Bladon said: “Although the new judgement marks a big departure from the historical ‘Outstanding’ status, the reality is that the school has faced considerable challenges.

“Whilst it is disappointing to be judged as ‘Requiring Improvement’, it is reassuring that the inspectors identified the very issues which are already a core feature of our School Development Plan.

Mr Bladon added: “I am pleased with the outcome given the journey that the school has been on.

“It is noteworthy that, in the last academic year, 94% of ‘Outstanding’ schools which were inspected after a long gap were ‘downgraded’ - almost half of those were judged to require improvement.

“We have already identified the things we need to improve, and I am confident that we can address all the issues and look forward to a better inspection in the future.”

“I would like to thank the school community for welcome me and supporting the changes I’ve implemented, and the staff and children for their work and effort in an evolving period.”

• Click here to read the full Ofsted report.