Failing High Peak school is placed in special measures

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A primary school in the High Peak has been given the lowest rating by Ofsted and placed into special measures.

Subject leaders at St George’s CofE in New Mills are not ensuring pupils receive good teaching and standards of student achievement are below the national average so the school has been graded as ‘inadequate’ by the education watchdog.

Inspector Dorothy Bathgate said: “Teaching has declined since the previous inspection and is inadequate.”

The report, from the December visit has been published today (Thursday), and also stated lesson planning needed to improve and school leaders needed to make better use of the pupil premium, which is Government funding made available to raise the attainment of disadvantaged children of all abilities.

Ofsted’s previous inspection in 2011 had rated the school as ‘good’.

The report stated there were three key issues the school needed to focus on; improve the ‘effectiveness of leadership and management’, improve outcomes for ‘all pupils and raise the quality of teaching and learning’ and improve pupils’ achievement in mathematics ‘by the end of key stage 2’.

Headteacher Mandy Brown said: “We have wasted no time in beginning to address these key issues, working alongside the Derbyshire County Council schools improvement advisory team, the Department for Education and the Diocese of Derby to develop a comprehensive action plan with clear timescales to reach agreed targets.

“We are very much focused on helping the pupils to develop their maths skills, enabling them to solve increasingly complex problems and ensuring they have a sound understanding of the subject by the time they leave the school.

“Phonics, handwriting and presentation are also important areas for improvement which our staff are working on very hard with the children. We will also aim to keep parents clearly informed about learning goals and intentions for their children.

“We have already made parents aware of the outcome of the inspection and their response has been overwhelmingly supportive of the school, the staff and the plan we have embarked upon to make these improvements.”

The Government announced in 2015 that a school placed in special measures following an Ofsted inspection would become an academy. No academy conversion date or sponsor for St George’s have yet been confirmed.

Chairman of governors Mark Gadd said: “As governors we have much to do alongside the staff over the coming months and we have already set out on this journey, making changes rapidly in order to secure school improvement.

“There will be a termly progress report to parents published by the governors which will keep them updated on all the work towards our school’s three key issues.”

Derbyshire County Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Councillor Caitlin Bisknell said: “We understand that it is always a great concern to parents when their child’s school is placed in special measures.

“The school’s leadership team has been quick to respond to the recommendations for improvement and is making excellent use of the council’s advisory service to help ensure that children at St George’s get the education that the inspectors have identified that they need.”