Ofsted downgrades Sidmouth’s St Nick’s school

SIDMOUTH’S St Nicholas Junior School has dropped down a rating in its latest Ofsted evaluation.

SIDMOUTH’S St Nicholas Junior School has dropped down a rating in its latest Ofsted evaluation.

Inspectors labelled the school’s overall performance as “satisfactory” this week following a two-day visit in October. The Woolbrook Road hub was rated “good” in 2007. Assessor Mark Lindfield paid tribute to “outstanding” pupils but pinpointed students’ “average” maths performances and a need for the school to “streamline” its improvement plan. Mr Lindfield said pupils leave St Nick’s with attainment that is “broadly average” and the quality of teaching and learning “varies”. He added, progress made by pupils between years three and six is “inconsistent”, and, while reading and writing skills were above average, they were average in maths.

Children were hailed as good ambassadors who make an “outstanding contribution to the school and wider community.”

“They actively help to improve the lives of others through their considerate approach to raising funds for charities, engaging in recycling and environmental projects..,” reads the report.

In a letter from the inspector to pupils, he said: “Your progress in mathematics is slower than in other subjects…We have asked the school to help all of you to make quicker progress copying what helps you to do well in your writing.

“The headteacher, governors, and senior members of staff have produced a plan to make the school better. We have asked them to streamline their plans so that they can see more easily whether they are making a difference to you.”

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Headteacher Paul Walker said the inspection was the first carried out under new Ofsted guidelines which “had dramatically changed its focus”.

He was pleased the inspection praised the excellent behaviour and attitude of children, their outstanding attendance, promotion of healthy lifestyles and contribution to the wider community.

Mr Walker added the inspection was largely based on SATS results from 2009 and didn’t recognise a “sharp improvement” in progress since.

He said the school’s curriculum review had seen English standards improve greatly and this year’s focus was on maths, where similar progress was expected.

He added inspectors had observed some classes which supply teachers were covering at the time of the visit.