Improving Brighton school wins praise from Ofsted

Posted On 17 Nov 2015 at 12:00 pm

A Brighton school has won praise from the official watchdog Ofsted for making improvements since its last inspection.

St Mark's CE Primary School 1

St Mark’s Church of England Primary School, in Manor Road, Brighton, wrote to parents earlier this month to say that the school had been rated as good by Ofsted.

It had previously been graded as requiring improvement – the third out of the four verdicts given by inspectors. Outstanding is the best and inadequate the worst.

Ofsted praised head teacher Jane Fendley – as did officials and members of Brighton and Hove City Council when the Children, Young People and Skills Committee met yesterday (Monday 16 November).

Councillor Tom Bewick, the committee chairman, said that he would write to the school to congratulate the head, staff, governors and pupils.

Jane Fendley

Jane Fendley

Ofsted said in its report which was published on Monday 9 November: “This is a good school. The headteacher, supported by the senior leadership team, has a clear vision for the school and has strived towards this with focus and determination.

“Governors know the school very well and support its work tirelessly. Pupils show positive attitudes to learning and are generally well mannered and polite.

“The school provides a very nurturing environment in which pupils feel valued. Every pupil is supported well to raise their achievement.

“Staff are excellent role models. They demonstrate and develop British values throughout the school. Leaders promote equal opportunities and diversity successfully.

“Pupils feel very safe, and the school has well-developed systems and structures to support vulnerable pupils.

“The vast majority of pupils have made accelerated progress, including disadvantaged pupils, disabled pupils and those with special educational needs and those who speak English as an additional language. These pupils progress as well as and sometimes better than other pupils as a result of meticulous analysis of their performance and targeted support.

St Mark's CE Primary School 3

“Teachers plan and teach engaging and exciting learning. Recent developments in writing have supported pupils to make rapid progress.

“The early years provision is strong. High-quality education and care are provided in a well-resourced environment.

“It is not yet an outstanding school because sometimes the most able pupils are not sufficiently challenged, and therefore their progress is not as rapid as it could be.

“On occasions, teachers’ weak subject knowledge and pupils becoming disengaged slows their learning.”

Ofsted said that to improve further the school should ensure the most able pupils were generally provided with sufficiently challenging activities which deepen their learning, particularly in writing and mathematics.

It also said that teaching should be supported so that all pupils can make good progress throughout each lesson by

  • ensuring activities are planned and taught to engage pupils and raise their achievement
  • eradicating pupils’ disengagement from their work and any low-level disruption
  • improving teachers’ subject knowledge

Almost 200 pupils attend the school. Ofsted said: “Since the last inspection, the proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language has increased rapidly and is now broadly in line with other schools nationally. There is a significantly greater proportion of these children in the Nursery.

St Mark's CE Primary School 2

“Over half of the pupils are eligible for the pupil premium (additional government funding for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals or children who are looked after by the local authority). This is significantly higher than most other schools.

“The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is above average.

“The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectation for pupils’ attainment and progress.

“The number of pupils who join and leave the school at other than usual times is above average.

“There have been many changes of staff since the last inspection.

“The school is part of a city centre partnership and, through this, has received support from a local leader of education at Middle Street Primary.

“The governors have received support from the Chichester Diocese.”

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