Balfour Primary Inspection - November 2017

We have now received the final report, you can find the link below. If you would like a hard copy of this report please pop in to the school office. We would like to thank you all for all your contributions during the inspection: for completing the online survey, for your conversations with the inspectors and for all your support and good wishes.

As you will see, the inspectors judged the school overall to be in the category of requires improvement. This is because Ofsted concluded that:

  •  Disadvantaged pupils make slower progress than their peers, especially in writing. The school’s pupil premium strategy has not met their academic needs well enough.
  • Sometimes, the most able pupils are not sufficiently challenged in lessons. This slows their progress over time.
  • Additional support for pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities does not help them to make sufficient academic progress.

Although as a whole, standards are at or above national for pupils across the school, the inspectors felt that children within the disadvantaged, SEND and more able groups were not making enough progress, especially in writing, when compared to their peers.

The inspectors did recognise that current disadvantaged pupils are not falling further behind, but neither are they catching up with their peers or with other pupils nationally in writing and maths.

The report does acknowledge, however, that senior leaders have an accurate understanding of what needs to be done next to improve the school further and have rightly focused their efforts on the progress of disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

This outcome is very disappointing for all of us as a community. Our services are only as good as those delivered for the most in need and it is clear from the results of this Ofsted Inspection that in the last five years we could and should have done more to ensure the potential of every disadvantaged child, every child with Special Educational Needs or Disability and each of our most able pupils was optimally supported.

Despite this final judgement, we are pleased that the inspectors recognised the fact that we are an improving school and as a result graded the school as Good in all other areas.

You will also see that a great number of strengths have been highlighted, including:

  • Balfour Primary School is a place where pupils can be themselves and are respected as individuals. Pupils enjoy coming to school, they attend regularly and play together well.
  • Improved teaching of reading has led to stronger outcomes in the phonics screening check at the end of Year 1. Pupils make rapid progress in reading in key stage 2.
  • Children make a good start to their education in the Reception Year. Parents are very happy with the support their children receive when they start school.

We are incredibly proud of Balfour Primary School and are pleased that so much of the dedicated hard work of our teaching and support staff was acknowledged in this report. We are determined to continue to adapt and improve our provision to ensure that we are able to maximise the potential of all our children.

We would like to reassure you that the school is already working on every point raised by the inspection team. We are working with the Local Authority and developing an Ofsted Action Plan to address each recommendation in the Ofsted Report. The impact of the Ofsted Action Plan will be continually assessed through a new School Improvement Board. We are committed to better and wider engagement with parents and carers as the Plan is developed and implemented.

We will have a monitoring visit in a year’s time (by HMI) followed by a second full inspection in no later than 30 months. The school is able to call Ofsted and request an earlier inspection if sufficient progress is made sooner than within the 30 months timescale. It is our ambition to make considered, meaningful and appropriate but rapid improvements in our work for Special Educational Needs and Disabled pupils, our Pupil Premium Strategy for disadvantaged pupils and classroom interventions for our most able pupils.

Our dedicated team of staff and governing body are committed to building upon the many positives highlighted in the Report.

We have every confidence that together we can work towards rapidly addressing the issues that have been identified, as we continue to strive to provide the very best possible education for all our children.

Marcelo Staricoff, Headteacher & Rachel Cashman, Chair of Governors