Spring Meadow Infant School in High Barns, Ely, falls from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’ – despite new headteacher’s ‘unwavering determination’

Spring Meadow Infant School in High Barns, Ely, falls from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’ – despit

Spring Meadow Infant School in High Barns, Ely, falls from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’ – despite new headteacher’s ‘unwavering determination’ - Credit: Archant

A school in High Barns, Ely, has been told it requires improvement – despite headteacher Annette Blewett’s “unwavering determination to secure an excellent standard of education”.

Spring Meadow Infant School, which has 348 pupils aged three to seven, was rated good in its last inspection in 2013. However four years later, overall effectiveness at the setting ‘requires improvement’ in three areas out of five according to Ofsted.

In a report the inspector states there are “too many variations in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, particularly in English, across the school.

“Some teachers do not use the information they have about pupils’ current skills to set activities that meet pupils’ needs or extend their learning,” states the report.

“Tasks are not adapted quickly enough within lessons as the needs of pupils change. Assessment systems for the broader curriculum are not in place.

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“Expectations of leaders in early years are not high enough. Many children, especially those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities and disadvantaged children are not prepared sufficiently well for Key Stage 1.

“Sometimes, tasks in early years lack focus. Adults do not intervene well enough to guide children, particularly in developing their reading and writing skills.”

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The report however states a number of strengths, including that headteacher Annette Blewett, who joined the school in September 2017, is “providing strategic direction.

“She has clear determination for school improvement and achieving the best possible outcomes for pupils,” the report says.

“Leaders and governors have an accurate view of the strengths and weaknesses of the school. Roles and responsibilities have been established. Staff are accountable for demonstrating the impact of their work in carrying out the school improvement plan successfully.”

It adds that safeguarding is effective, and that “leaders and governors ensure that the school provides a safe and nurturing environment for pupils.

“Pupils are polite and well behaved. This is an inclusive school where pupils work and play happily and safely together.”

In terms of special educational needs, the report says “pupils are well supported so that they make good progress from their starting points.

“They are gradually integrated into the main school to access the curriculum alongside their peers. Parents are overwhelmingly positive about the school.”

One parent is quoted by Ofsted as saying: “This is a friendly school that works hard to build a community. The staff all care greatly about the children and cultivate a wonderful feel to the school.”

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