Lancaster primary school put in special measures and banned from hiring teachers after damning Ofsted inspection

A Lancaster primary school has been put into special measures and banned from appointing newly qualified teachers after a visit by Ofsted.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 12:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 12:32 pm

Castle View Primary School, in Keswick Road, was slammed by inspectors after they visited in December.

The school, which has 160 pupils, was rated 'good' after its last inspected in April 2015, when it was known as Ridge Community Primary School.

But it has now been rated as ‘inadequate’ for its 'quality of education' and 'leadership and management,' and ‘requires improvement’ in 'behaviour and attitudes', 'personal development' and 'early years provision.'

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Castle View Primary School. Photo: Google Street View

Inspectors raised concerns that staff do ‘too little’ to develop pupils’ skills, and said pupils' learning is 'disjointed.'

"Senior and middle leaders do not have the capacity to move the school forwards," inspectors said.

"Urgent action is required to strengthen the capacity of leaders and governors in order to secure sustainable improvement to the quality of education that pupils receive."

Headteacher Claire Bright joined the school in January 2019.

The school has experienced considerable changes of staffing since the last inspection. Staff absence is high and the school relies heavily on supply staff.

Pupils’ achievement at the end of early years, key stage 1 and key stage 2 is poor. Inspectors found they do not learn to read well enough, which makes it difficult for them to learn successfully in other subjects.

Inspectors also noted that the pupils do not achieve well in the core subjects such as reading, writing and mathematics and that they do not learn enough in subjects such as history, geography and science.

This makes it difficult for them to make a good start in their education and to be ready for secondary school.

The behaviour of some of the children was raised as a concern, with inspectors concluding that teachers "allow the poor behaviour of a small number of pupils to disrupt the learning of others."

“Some pupils are rude to teachers and they misbehave in lessons,” they said. “Their behaviour shows that they do not want to study. Other pupils are not happy with such distraction because they are keen to learn as much as they can.”

Too many pupils are also persistently absent from the school or arrive late at the start of the day. Leaders and staff do not give enough attention to this issue, so the problems remain.

However, the school was praised for the way it promotes pupils’ personal development through planning a range of experiences.

Pupils visit local places of interest, including Lancaster Castle and a local priory.

Older pupils can go to London and visit other places of historic and cultural interest.

But inspectors said pupils learn too little about possible future careers and do not develop enough of the skills that they need for the workplace.

Teachers and teaching assistants in the reception class were also praised for helping the students ‘quickly settle’ into the school.

Inspectors said: “Many children have poor language and communication skills and benefit from the support they receive from teachers and teaching assistants."

But there were concerns that pupils with special educational needs do not achieve well, with inspectors saying that "they do not catch up in their learning."

As a result of the inspection, Castle View was placed into 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."

In addition, the school may not appoint newly qualified teachers.

Claire Bright, headteacher at Castle View Primary School, said: "Whilst we are extremely disappointed with the outcome, we accept the inspectors' findings and, with the continued support of the local authority, will continue to work hard to drive improvements in those areas where we can do better.

"The leadership team and governors have an accurate view now of the school's current position, and we are committed to improving the direction and management of the school and are putting focused plans in place to ensure that this happens.

"We were pleased that the inspectors found many things to praise about our school including that pupils are happy, behave sensibly and that their relationships with each other are positive.

"The inspectors also noted that pupils learn about tolerance and respect for others. They also learn how to keep themselves safe, including when on social media.

"We are already working with the county council's advisers to develop a long-term improvement action plan with clear timescales. This will help us to ensure that we raise attainment, and make improvements to bring about a positive change in school."