Northampton school may not be rated ‘good’ if full inspection is carried out, says Ofsted

The interim headteacher was praised for “skilfully” guiding Barry Road Primary School through “a time of uncertainty.”

By Megan Hillery
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 9:06 am

Ofsted rated a Northampton primary school as ‘good’ in their latest inspection - but added that evidence suggests the grade might not have been as high if a full inspection was carried out.

The education watchdog carried out a section 8 inspection – used for schools previously judged ‘good’ where no concerns have been raised – of Barry Road Primary School in March and, in a report published on May 20, judged the school continued to be ‘good.’

Ofsted said: “Leaders have high ambitions for pupils. They want pupils to achieve well personally and academically.

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Barry Road Primary School in Abington, Northampton.

“However, there is still work to do to ensure that the school’s curriculum is well planned in all subjects.”

Inspectors described the school as a “happy place” where pupils behave well in lessons and understand they need to “be ready, be respectful, be safe.”

The report said the diverse nature of the school is celebrated with staff, pupils and families being encouraged to tell others about their faith and culture, and teaching being effectively adapted so that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities can access the same curriculum as their peers.

Ofsted commended the school’s “well embedded” new phonics programme and noted that pupils enjoy reading and “enthusiastically” talk about their favourite books and authors.

Inspectors said that pupils are keen to take on responsibilities - using the lunchtime ‘food council’ as an example, where pupils support supervisors to keep lunchtimes “pleasant” and “well ordered.”

The report said that most parents and staff are proud of the school and appreciate the recent changes that leaders have brought about.

One parent told Ofsted: “The school makes a huge effort to get to know every pupil and family.”

Inspectors praised Barry Road primary school’s interim headteacher, Alex Owens, for “skillfully” guiding the school though a “time of uncertainty” and, as a result, improved it in a short period of time.

Ofsted stated that curriculum development has been a priority for leaders and important knowledge is clearly identified and built up through the year groups, particularly in mathematics and English.

Inspectors found, however, that curriculum leadership is “weak” in other subjects with teachers not linking prior learning to the lessons being taught. Some subject leaders are trialling systems for assessing pupils but there is currently no agreed approach to ensure consistency across the school.

The report noted that many subject leaders are new to their roles and the majority of governors have only recently been appointed so they have not yet had enough time to understand the school’s strengths and areas for further improvement fully.

Inspectors said that leaders and governors should ensure that they have the right skills, knowledge and expertise to help the school to continue to improve

Barry Road primary school’s last full inspection took place in June 2016 when it was rated ‘good.’

Ofsted said: “There has been no change to this school’s overall judgement of good as a result of this initial (section 8) inspection.

“However, the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a full inspection were carried out now. The next inspection will therefore be a full (section 5) inspection.”