Improvements at primary school but more needs to be done

Northgate Primary School
Northgate Primary School

Northgate Primary School has been rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted for the second time.

The school, in Green Lane, underwent a two-day inspection in January and the findings of inspector Simon Hughes and his team were published on February 20.

While listing the school as ‘requires improvement’ overall, Mr Hughes rated both the personal development, behaviour and welfare of the children and the early years provision ‘good’.

In his report, he recognised that teaching and governance were both improving and that the school’s Key Stage 2 results for 2017 were “considerably better” than the previous three years.

But he said the standards in writing were “not good enough”, and the proportion of pupils meeting the expected standard in the phonics screening check was “too low”. In addition, he found that teachers did not challenge poor standards of presentation or handwriting frequently enough.

Looking at the school’s strengths, Mr Hughes described Northgate Primary as a “welcoming and nurturing place where everyone is included and pupils’ diversity is celebrated”. Children were seen to behave well, treating each other and adults with respect, while teaching in some areas was “strong”.

He added: “Where teaching is most effective, pupils are stimulated to produce brilliant work. Northgate pupils are thirsty for knowledge and eager to learn.”

Mr Hughes also noted that Northgate was no longer listed as a ‘coasting school’ by the Department for Education – a school where pupils are thought to not be progressing as much as they should.

Headteacher Georgina Beaven said she and her team felt that, overall, the report was fair and balanced and captured the ethos of the school.

She added: “The school was fully aware of the areas for improvement and had already begun working to address these even before the inspection, including our current drive to raise standards by replicating the inspirational teaching noted by the Ofsted inspector and make this consistent across the school.

“We were pleased the team recognised the many improvements which have already been made. They highlighted our pupils’ excellent behaviour of which we are very proud and complimented our staff when they noted ‘some teaching is inspiring, imaginative and creative’.”