Baildon's Sandal Primary School ‘inadequate’ says Ofsted report

Sandal Primary School

Sandal Primary School

First published in News
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Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Aire/Worth Valley Reporter

A Baildon school has been branded inadequate with serious weaknesses particularly in maths and teacher management in a damning Ofsted report just released.

Sandal Primary School has slumped from a good rating in 2004 to inadequate in 2013 while under the leadership of headteacher Paul Richardson.

Mr Richardson was unavailable for comment yesterday and chair of governors Richard Moore refused to talk about the substandard teaching suffered by the school’s 447 pupils.

But Baildon councillor Roger L’Amie, the Council’s Conservative education spokesman, was shocked that the school should have fallen so far, so fast.

“It has been given a real slating and the report is very disturbing,” Coun L’Amie said.

“This is not the sort of school that should be labelled ‘inadequate’.

“The other three primary schools in Baildon all achieve good or better and so why can’t Sandal School?” said Coun L’Amie.

“Questions need to be asked and answers given.”

Ofsted inspectors visited the West Lane site in January and concluded: “This is a school that has serious weaknesses.

“Given their starting points, pupils do not achieve as well as they should in mathematics where progress is too slow.

“Teachers are not sufficiently knowledgeable or skilled in the teaching of mathematics.

“Until recently, the pace of improvement in mathematics has been too slow.”

And the inspectors placed responsibility for that on a culture of ignoring poor teaching: “This is because the school’s senior leaders, managers and governors have held too positive a view of pupils’ achievement and the quality of teaching.

“Checks on the quality of teaching have not been rigorous enough in identifying the weaknesses in mathematics that have limited pupils’ progress.”

The report noted that the proportion of pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium, which provides additional funding for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals, in local authority care or whose parents are in the armed forces, is below average.

Also the proportion of pupils from minority ethnic groups is below average and none are at an early stage of learning to speak English.

When pupils arrive at Sandal Primary, they do so from backgrounds which place them above the national average, says the report. “During Key Stage 1, most pupils make good progress in reading and writing. By the end of Year 2, they generally attain standards that are above average in reading and well above average in writing. However, their good start in mathematics is not sustained and they underachieve in this subject.”

A Bradford Council education spokesman said that although a press release addressing issues in the Ofsted report had been prepared in advance of questions, it would not be made public until the school opened after half term.

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