Frustration over negative Ofsted report

jpco 25-2-15  Kay Gilzene Head Teacher and children at Waterfield Primary School, Bewbush (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150224-095828001
jpco 25-2-15 Kay Gilzene Head Teacher and children at Waterfield Primary School, Bewbush (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150224-095828001

A headteacher has spoken of her frustration over a “conflictual” Ofsted report which saw her school labelled as requiring improvement.

Waterfield Primary School, in Bewbush, was inspected in November and received a monitoring visit on January 26 to allow Ofsted to check its progress.

In a letter to headteacher, Kay Gilzene, inspector Theresa Phillips praised her for acting “quickly and effectively” following the inspection and added: “There are early signs that pupils’ progress is improving.

“Your reorganisation of the responsibilities of senior and middle leaders has improved systems for monitoring the progress of pupils and evaluating the impact of actions taken.”

But the praise did not leave Ms Gilzene celebrating, and she pointed out the short length of time between the inspection and the implementation of improvements suggested the school had already been performing to the required standard.

She said: “We just changed the emphasis on the senior leadership team. We were no less or no more aware than we were before.”

As for the original report, Ms Gilzene said: “I felt some of it was conflictual. We worked extremely hard and a lot of the report was based on data and not necessarily a reflection on how the school is doing.”

Among the conclusions reached by Ofsted was the claim pupils’ understanding and progress was not rapid enough due to teaching standards and the organisation of some lessons.

By contrast, the report stated the monitoring of the children’s progress meant “the progress of pupils currently in the school is more rapid”.

The inspectors also called on the school to improve teachers’ understanding of grammar. The teaching of such was described in the report as “inconsistent because teachers are not confident in their own knowledge and understanding of the subject”.

The monitoring letter acknowledged the required training had been given.

It added: “Work in books shows that this is beginning to have a positive impact.”

The November report was not the first occasion on which Waterfield had been told it required improvement.

An inspection in 2012 came to the same conclusion.

Ms Gilzene said: “I get really frustrated because everyone worked so hard and to be labelled as requiring improvement for a second time was a blow.

“As a team that’s worked very hard, we were devastated.”

Her frustration was shared by parents, who were quick to show their support for the school.

Ms Gilzene said: “I’ve had parents come and say we’re really sorry, that’s not a reflection on the school. We’ve had lots of letters.”