Downham Feoffees Primary School in “special measures” after damning Ofsted inspection

Downham Feoffees Primary School in “special measures” after damning Ofsted inspection

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Little Downham’s primary school has been put under special measures, following a damning Ofsted inspection.

In a report published yesterday, Downham Feoffees Primary School was found to be “inadequate” in all areas.

“In accordance with section 44(1) of the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.”

Headteacher Camila Coulson has resigned with immediate effect. During the summer term, Ely St John’s headteacher Liz Bassett will serve as acting headteacher for Feoffees.

In a letter sent yesterday, Downham Feoffees chair of governors Karen Wilson reassured parents and carers that “safety, academic advancement and happiness of your children” were key priorities for the school.

The scathing Ofsted report followed an Ofsted inspection on January 19 to 20 this year.

Inspectors found the school “inadequate” in the following areas:

  • Effectiveness of leadership and management
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare
  • Outcomes for pupils
  • Early years provision

During a previous inspection, in May 2013, the school on Main Street was rated as “good” overall, and “outstanding” in behaviour and safety of pupils and in leadership and management.

Since then the senior leadership team has changed completely, with four new teachers joining the school in September 2016.

In its latest report, Ofsted criticised governors and school leaders for failing to ensure that pupils were effectively safeguarded.

It said systems for following up concerns about pupils weren’t robust enough and staff training was not up to date.

Inspectors said those in charge of running the school had “not prevented a decline in standards”.

The report says: “They have failed to sustain the good progress pupils were making at the last inspection; progress is now too slow. They have not implemented the necessary changes to the primary curriculum.”

Ofsted said leaders’ evaluation of the school was “too generous” and students weren’t making enough progress in reading and writing in key stage 1.

“In 2016, no pupils achieved greater depth in writing or mathematics.”

Last year, the proportion of Year 6 pupils reaching the national standard in mathematics was below that of other students across the country.

“Their progress placed the school among the lowest 5% of schools in the country. This was because leaders had not understood the new expectations arising from the changes to the primary mathematics curriculum in 2014.”

As a result of the latest inspection, the school has been banned from appointing newly qualified teachers.

Downham Feoffees has been ordered to:

  • provide better record-keeping and paperwork for child protection purposes
  • ensure new staff and existing support staff follow special safeguarding training
  • provide a clear improvement plan
  • improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment across the school, particularly in maths
  • improve outcomes “so that pupils make good progress throughout the school and attain at least in line with national standards by the end of key stage 2”.

Ofsted praised the school for providing a welcoming environment for children, stating: “Pupils come to school regularly and most enjoy learning. They are happy at school and feel safe. Most parents agree.”

It said relationships between adults and children were good and “children are well cared for and safe”, adding that children “play together well, take turns and share toys.”

Downham Feoffees caters for 209 children aged between four and 11.

The full report can be read here.