St Leonard’s CE Primary Academy has been placed into special measures by education watchdog Ofsted following an inspection in March which highlighted failures of the school’s governors and leadership team.
The school, part of the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust, was given an overall rating of ‘inadequate’ (the lowest rating) by inspectors.
In the areas of effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment and outcomes for pupils it was judged to be inadequate - with personal development, behaviour and welfare and early years provision being identified as ‘requiring improvement’.
The school’s governing body was singled out by inspectors for failing the school, having not having provided challenge and strategic leadership to school leaders - ‘as a result standards have slipped, especially in the end of Key Stage 2 assessments.’
And they added that governors and school leaders did not have an accurate view of the school’s effectiveness and their plans were not improving the school.
It was also said that the governors, chaired by Clare Lindley, failed to provide appropriate leadership training for head teacher Nicky Mills - “Consequently, the role is overwhelming. Leaders have not received the necessary training and development. As a result, capacity for securing further improvement is poor.”
Inspectors said that an external review of governance should be undertaken to assess how this aspect of leadership and management could be improved.
The report also criticised the school’s leadership for not having a clear overview of the curriculum on offer - ‘across a range of subjects, teachers do not use their knowledge of what pupils know, can do and understand. Consequently pupils make weak progress’.
And it went on to say that leaders did not manage the performance of staff effectively and did not have effective systems to measure progress of pupils - ‘There is a lack of accountability, middle leaders lack the necessary leadership skills. As a result there is too much inconsistency in teaching.’
The expectations of teachers are too low, inspectors said, and disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs are not making sufficient progress. Too many pupils at the school are disengaged with their learning and staff do not have an effective behaviour management policy.
On the positive side, inspectors said most pupils were polite and respectful, showed a good attendance record and understood current affairs well. The teaching of phonics was also singled out for praise by inspectors.
St Leonard’s CE Primary Academy, which has 206 pupils aged 4 to 11 attending, converted to an academy in February 2012. Prior to its conversion, the school was graded outstanding by Ofsted who visited in May 2010. Headteacher Nicky Mills was appointed in September 2017.
The most recent Ofsted report can be accessed by clicking here