Ofsted strips Corbridge C of E First School of its outstanding grade

Corbridge C of E First School in Northumberland has been stripped of its outstanding Ofsted grade

Corbridge Church of England First School
Corbridge Church of England First School

Standards at an “outstanding” first school have plummeted, sending it crashing down Ofsted’s rankings.

Inspectors assessing Corbridge C of E First School said it needs across the board improvement to bring up standards in teaching, behaviour and leadership and management.

The school in the Northumberland village was awarded an outstanding grade in 2009, but following a visit by inspectors last month it has been judged as “requiring improvement”.

The damning report comes as headteacher Julie Logan remains on suspension for a fourth term.

Under Ofsted’s new framework the school is now just one category above “failing” and by law it must be subjected to another full inspection in two years’ time with regular monitoring visits in between.

Teaching is described as inconsistent within the report, with pupils displaying poor writing stamina and not enough progress made in phonics.

Their learning in maths was also labelled “mundane” and children were found to chat through lessons.

Low-level bullying in the playground is not being dealt with fairly by staff according to parents, who were asked to contribute their opinions on the school through a survey.

Senior management and local authority personnel were also criticised for failing to recognise that the school needed improvement earlier.

In a joint statement released to parents, head of early years and schools for Northumberland County Council Tony Mays and Director of Education for the Diocese of Newcastle, Jeremy Fitt, said they were “naturally disappointed” but that plans were already in place for rapid improvement through current acting headteacher Julie Shields.

The interim headteacher, who moved to the school from Ovingham C of E First School, had only been in position six days when inspectors arrived in September.

The joint statement said: “Mrs Julie Shields made her own assessment of the school’s performance which has been borne out by the inspection report.

“We welcome the support of Ofsted in monitoring the school’s progress with regular visits beginning within four to six weeks.

“Their report acknowledges the strengths of the school in its nursery provision, the pupils’ behaviour and attitudes, relationships throughout the school, the spiritual, moral, social and cultural provision.

“Pupils and parents at Corbridge rightly expect their school to deliver high standards in every aspect of its life and work, and this report is naturally disappointing for all connected with the school.

“Together with the new chair of governors, Roger Lowans, we have already met with the staff and a plan for rapid improvements is already in place.”

Neither the report nor a separate letter to parents written by Mr Lowans makes reference to the future position of headteacher Julie Logan who was suspended in November 2012 by governers after just 11 months in post. The reason for her departure has not been revealed by the diocese.

Families will be kept informed about developments through a newsletter with opportunities to meet Mrs Shields, Mr Lowans and representatives of the diocese and county at forthcoming parents’ evenings.

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