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School Leaders Respond to Ofsted Report

by Haddenham Webteam – 17th January 2013
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hcjs ofsted meeting 16jan13david palmersue robertskevin burrelltessa ford

Haddenham Community Junior School was inspected by Ofsted in December 2012, and its overall effectiveness was graded as "Requires Improvement".

Under the new inspection framework employed by Ofsted, as part of the Government's moves to raise educational standards in this country, the categories are now:

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires Improvement
  • Inadequate

Schools previously regarded as "Satisfactory" are now graded as "Requires Improvement".

On Wednesday evening 16th January, approximately 160 parents and prospective parents attended a public meeting hosted by David Palmer, Chairman of Governors, and Sue Roberts, Head Teacher, to hear the school's response to the Ofsted report. Also present were Kevin Burrell and Tessa Ford from Buckinghamshire School Improvement Services.

Dr Palmer placed the new inspection framework into perspective, and explained some of its practical limitations. He described the need for staff to compress a wide range of teaching and learning strategies that would normally be employed over the duration of a complete lesson, and to demonstrate these within a short Ofsted classroom visit. To that extent, teachers needed to "play the game" of meeting key inspection criteria (subsequently likened to the need to exaggerate certain behaviours in order to pass one's driving test).

He described the school's particular concern that one cohort of pupils, on which part of the assessment of educational progress and learning was assessed, comprised of just two pupils. Since one of these youngsters had not made the gains looked for by Ofsted inspectors, this meant (by simple arithmetic) that only 50% of that particular cohort did achieve the required progress. This percentage does not meet Ofsted standards and so contributed to the overall grading reported by Ofsted.

Dr Palmer went on to emphasise the confidence that he and his fellow governors have in the considerable skills and commitment demonstrated by HCJS staff at all levels, and highlighted the tremendously wide range of extra-curricular activities that the school continues to offer its pupils. Both he and Mr Burrell were keen to emphasise how children gain so much life enrichment and preparedness for adulthood from such activities.

Mrs Roberts then noted the fact that the local primary schools do an excellent job in helping pupils to begin their junior school education with "above average attainments" and she and her staff were determined to ensure that this progress would be maintained and extended during their time at HCJS. Mr Burrell also noted that the school has an excellent reputation in South Bucks for preparing students for their secondary school careers.

Mrs Roberts briefly outlined the school's Action Plan to ensure that the visit by Her Majesties' Inspector (due before the February half-term break) meets the requirements and demonstrates significant improvements in the areas highlighted by the December Ofsted inspection. A full Ofsted Inspection will follow in about 18 months.

To read a summary of the school's Action Plan please click here.

Haddenham.net is delighted to report that conversations among parents after the meeting clearly demonstrated that HCJS continues to enjoy the confidence and full support of the local community in Haddenham.

To read the latest Ofsted Report for HCJS, click here

For more information about the Ofsted Inspection Process, please click here

To read an article regarding the controversial nature of the new Inspection Framework, click here

To read a written response to the Ofsted Report from the Chairman of HCJS Governors, Dr David Palmer, click here

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