Portslade school requires improvement, says official watchdog

A Portslade primary school requires improvement, according to the official watchdog Ofsted.

A report was sent to Brackenbury Primary School, in Locks Hill, Portslade, yesterday (Monday 18 June).

The school was previously rated good but the two-day inspection last month applied new higher standards.

The inspectors noted that the school had been through considerable change – it is now an all-through primary school – and had new leadership.

Ofsted said that the school needed to

  • Improve the provision for children in the early years by

– ensuring that teaching is planned to meet children’s needs

– making activities engaging so that children are excited to learn

– developing assessment practice so that children’s progress can be monitored more accurately

– improving the learning environment so that it is a stimulating place for children to learn in

  • Improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and address the legacy of underperformance, by

– raising teachers’ expectations of what pupils can achieve

– ensuring that gaps in pupils’ knowledge are filled

– making sure that assessments of pupils’ learning are accurate so that learning can be planned more effectively to meet pupils’ needs

  • Increase the effectiveness of leaders, managers and governors by

– ensuring that monitoring is timely, rigorous and evaluative.

Ofsted said that the school had a number of strengths

  • The head teacher has shown determination to improve outcomes for pupils. Progress is beginning to improve.
  • Leaders and governors are enthusiastic about their roles. Their expertise is developing, and they work productively with the head teacher.
  • Some teachers have strong subject knowledge and plan lessons well to meet the pupils’ needs. This is increasing the rate of progress for some pupils.
  • Most pupils enjoy their education and, as a result, attendance has improved.
  • Arrangements to safeguard pupils are effective. Pupils feel safe and know how to keep themselves safe.
  • Parents are supportive of the school and the head teacher. They appreciate the stability and sense of ambition she has brought to the school.

Head teacher Lizzie Mullarky, who stepped up from acting head in March, said: “We are absolutely determined to implement the improvements the inspectors have called for.

“We believe that over the past year the school has moved forward positively and will continue to do so. We are already working on further improvements.

“We are very aware of the changes we need to make and the hard work ahead and we would like to thank our parents for their positive support throughout this year.”

Parents will be able to ask about the report at two meetings, on Friday (22June) and next Monday (25 June), at the school.

The Ofsted inspection verdict was one of seven reported to the Brighton and Hove City Council Children, Young People and Skills Committee yesterday.

One of them, Tarnerland Nursery School, retained its outstanding rating for the fifth inspection in 16 years.

The other five schools retained their good ratings. They were Dorothy Stringer, Queen’s Park, St Mary’s, Carlton Hill and the Connected Hub.

Two schools that require improvement – Longhill and St Bartholomew’s – were reported to be making effective progress after monitoring visits.

At the committee meeting, at Hove Town Hall, Conservative councillors Andrew Wealls and Nick Taylor and Green councillor Alex Phillips raised concerns about the Ofsted ratings for local schools.

Councillor Taylor and Councillor Phillips wanted more information about what had led Brackenbury to slip from being a good school to one that requires improvement – and what was being done to help the school improve.

Councillor Wealls, Councillor Taylor and co-opted committee member Amanda Mortensen, a school governor, questioned how much was being done to help good schools become outstanding.

State schools in Brighton and Hove are less likely to be outstanding than the national average.

Almost a quarter of the country’s secondary schools are outstanding, Councllor Wealls said, but in Brighton and Hove there were none.

Jo Lyons, the asistant director of children’s services, pointed out that the number of inadequate schools, and those requiring improvement, was below the national average too.

She denied that there was any complacency, highlighting a “good to great” programme locally.

Local school leaders visited outstanding schools around the country to try to learn from them, she added.

  1. Duncan Picknell Reply

    I can only praise Brackenbury for the work they are doing with my children. School is more than getting high marks it is about enjoying the experenice and wanting to learn further.

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