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Sandlings Primary School rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted

PUBLISHED: 15:51 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:11 06 December 2017

Sandlings Primary School. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Sandlings Primary School. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Problems with teacher recruitment, local authority support and pupils’ progress are key reasons why a small primary school near Woodbridge has lost its ‘good’ rating, Ofsted has said.

The 99-pupil Sandlings Primary School, in Sutton, has been rated ‘requires improvement’ by the education inspectorate, with ‘good’ features in early years’ provision and personal development/behaviour.

Headteacher Patricia Toal has pledged to drive improvements.

The news follows recent concerns over teacher recruitment in Suffolk.

In summer 2016, 54% of Year six pupils left with the expected standards in reading, writing, and maths. It was slightly above the national and Suffolk average. The 2017 results are due next week.

Kim Pigram, lead inspector, said “staffing turbulence” since the last inspection in 2013 has meant “too many” pupils have not made the progress of which they are capable. She wrote: “This is partially due to some staffing turbulence and difficulty in recruiting new teachers. Last year, the head and deputy head resorted to undertaking additional teaching to try to reduce the potential underperformance of pupils.

“Although school evidence shows that this intervention in Year 6 made a difference to pupils’ outcomes, it was not enough to ensure that pupils made good progress in reading and maths.”

But the report said Mrs Toal has “stabilised” staffing by recruiting new teachers this year, including new leadership. It added: “She has been resolute that she will not appoint until she finds high-quality candidates. This is starting to secure raised expectations about what pupils can achieve, and where they need to catch up so that they can be better identified and supported.”

Mrs Toal said: “We are pleased the inspection highlighted some of our strengths. Our provision for promoting personal development and welfare of our pupils is graded ‘outstanding’.

“The report notes we have made a promising start to the academic year and that teaching, learning and assessment are improving.”

The report said Suffolk County Council’s (SCC) “evaluation of the school’s effectiveness is over generous.” It said SCC has not supported leaders “well enough”.

Gordon Jones, SCC’s education cabinet member, said “high turnover” of staff had prompted the criticism of their support but said reinforcements of permanent teachers will drive “rapid and sustainable improvements”.

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