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Thursday, 14 November 2013 16:10

Shoreham Village School - Special Measures

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The latest OFSTED Report on Shoreham Village School, which was published earlier this week placing the school in Special Measures, is possibly the most scathing I have ever read. The school is found inadequate in every category: achievement of pupils; quality of teaching; behaviour and safety of pupils, and leadership & management. This is a dramatic turnaround from the previous inspection of 2010 when the school was judged to be good. Shoreham is just north of Sevenoaks with an annual intake of just 15 and fills each year, in spite of the problems.

Typically of failing schools, there are staffing problems: “At the time of the inspection the substantive headteacher was on long-term sick leave. Four members of staff began working in the school in September 2013, including an acting headteacher who is providing support to the school for three days a week temporarily”. This is in spite of “Arrangements to lead it temporarily have gained the confidence of parents, staff, governors and pupils”, confirming that the problems are not primarily related to the new staff appointed.

It is clear from the Leadership & Management section where the problems are located.......

Some quotes: “Leadership and management are inadequate because disabled pupils and those with special educational needs do not receive an acceptable standard of education; With the high turnover of staff, most of whom are currently very new to their roles or at an early stage of their career, the school does not have the capacity to improve without considerable external support; Senior leaders who have only recently joined the school are determined to bring about improvements, but their roles have yet to be fully defined, They are not aware of how they will check the quality of teaching and raise achievement, especially for disabled pupils and those with special educational needs; The school has an unrealistic view of its effectiveness, which does not take into account the views of parents, staff and pupils. Its spotlight on the teaching of the average and more able pupils has discriminated against those with greater barriers to their learning; the programme of work does not meet statutory requirements; the local authority challenged the school to raise achievement in English and mathematics in Year 6 in 2013. It did not check the impact of the quality of teaching on the least able pupils throughout the school; Governors have not undertaken sufficient training to ensure that statutory requirements are met. They do not check that the school’s arrangements for safeguarding are implemented robustly; Governors are unaware of the quality of teaching, although they know that attainment in Year 6 is higher this year than in the past. They rely too heavily on reports from senior leaders, and the local authority, that do not provide an accurate view of the school’s effectiveness”.

Elsewhere in the Report: “The progress of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs is inadequate; when writing, pupils do not have the resources to help them to spell accurately or increase their vocabulary; in mathematics, younger pupils are not taught to write their numbers correctly; In Years 1, 3 and 4 teaching is not good enough; Records of incidents of poor behaviour over the past year show that pupils do not show sufficient respect for one another in lessons or in the playground; In physical education lessons, and on the playground, pupils do not behave in a manner that helps to keep them and others safe; Too many pupils do not attend regularly. The school believes that this is because of childhood illnesses, but has no clear record of the reasons why each pupil is away or how absence is followed up rigorously; Some parents consider their children are safe in school, but others do not; Pupils also shared mixed views about their safety”.  

One is left asking too many questions about how this disastrous state of affairs has come about. Clearly KCC has taken its eye off the ball because the school was previously working well; however, long term sickness of the headteacher should surely have meant that appropriate external support was forthcoming. The Report states that KCC did not check the impact of its advice. Governors were not sufficiently critical.

I feel very sorry for the new teachers, who are currently at an early stage of their career; what a start! I just hope those careers are not ruined. However, I feel more sorry for the children of Shoreham Village School, who have been let down so badly by all who should be educating and supporting them. I just hope that someone is taking responsibility for this debacle, not just those new teachers. 

Read 10836 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 November 2013 16:23

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