The latest section 8 Ofsted report for Nunney First School has been published, three months after the school was placed in special measures.
The Interim Head Teacher, Mrs Pauley, and Hilary Alllom, as Chair of Governors, sent parents of pupils at the school an advance copy of the report last week.
HM Inspector Richard Light visited the school just before the end of last term. Because of the long summer break his report is only ready for publication now.
Mr Light wrote to Mrs Pauley, “Since your arrival on June 1, you have started to implement the much needed changes required to improve the quality of the school’s work.”
“Governors, teachers and teaching assistants agree that the school ‘is very different now to the one at the time of the inspection’. Morale is improving quickly because staff feel supported and able to contribute to school improvement.”
“You are giving careful consideration to tackling the most urgent improvements required first. You are raising teachers’ expectations of how much pupils are capable of during lessons and improving pupils’ attitudes towards learning,” the report stated.
“Training is helping teachers plan activities that are becoming increasingly matched to pupils’
needs. As a result, pupils’ behaviour during lessons and around the school is improving.”
“Pupils are contributing more to class discussions and responding more thoughtfully to teachers’ marking. Evidence from pupils’ books shows that a greater quantity of work is being completed. Pupils are also sustaining work of a higher quality throughout tasks, illustrating their improving efforts when tackling activities,” Inspector Light concluded.
“On balance Mrs Pauley and I believe that the report is fair and, for the most part, very encouraging,” Mrs Allom wrote in a letter to the parents. “Mr Light recognised the actions taken by Mrs Pauley and the staff in June and July this year. He talked at length to both of us and to teaching and support staff.”
“He clearly feels that we are on the right path to bring Nunney First School back to good. He looks forward to visiting the school again in the autumn term to look more closely at the quality of teaching and the progress of the children.”
The inspection on 15 July was the first monitoring inspection since the school became subject to special measures following the inspection which took place in April 2015.
The Ofsted report published before the summer singled out the school’s paperwork – the School Action Plan and the Local Authority Action Plan – for particular criticism as not ‘fit for purpose’ at the time of the inspector’s visit.
“Our explanation that we had to concentrate on the most urgent matters – raising the quality of teaching and learning for your children – was accepted by Mr Light and he made some helpful suggestions,” according to Hilary Allom.
“We will be meeting the Local Authority as soon as possible to work on this important document which has to be a direct response to the Ofsted Report made by Mr Baxter following his visit in April this year.”
During the first week of the summer holidays, the governors met Wendy Woodcock, Education Adviser, Academies Group South West of the Department for Education and Neal Chislett, Somerset’s Director of Educational Effectiveness.
This was an exploratory meeting to establish the criteria for finding the best sponsor for Nunney First School.
The headteacher at the time of the inspection has now left the school. You were appointed as interim headteacher on 1 June 2015. Two new teachers are due to start the school in September 2015.
Two experienced governors have joined the governing body. The school is consulting with the Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West regarding proposals to become a sponsored academy. It is anticipated that a decision will be made by January 2016.
Hilary Allom spoke to Nunney Parish Council at their meeting on Monday 7 September 2015, giving them the gist of the above and answering questions. She also invited councilors to visit the school to see the changes for themselves.
On September 7 2015 the Nunney First School Wildlife Pond was officially opened by Simon King OBE, TV presenter, award winning cinematographer – and Frome’s very own wildlife expert.
“It’s a trite phrase, but Nunney First School has genuinely turned an important corner;” Hilary Allom concluded. “With new teaching staff, supported by our loyal and experienced support staff under the guidance of our Interim Head, Naomi Pauley, we are back on the path to ‘Good’.”