Northampton primary school now 'requires improvement' after being rated 'good' for nine years, says Ofsted

The report has raised concerns about staff workload, lack of communication with parents and slow learning due to 'poor curriculum planning'

By Megan Hillery
Friday, 28th January 2022, 5:00 pm

A primary school in Northampton has been told by Ofsted that it 'requires improvement' in a recent inspection.

The school watchdog carried out an inspection on St Mary's Catholic Primary School, situated in Kings Heath, on November 24 last year. The report was published on January 20, 2022.

The report concluded that the quality of education, pupils' behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management are all areas that require improvement. The early years provision was, however, given a 'good' rating.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

St Mary's Catholic Primary School 'requires improvement', says Ofsted.

Executive headteacher, Kirstie Yuen, said: "We are in the early stages of an exciting and ambitious journey of improvement at St Mary's and the result rightly recognises this.

"The report validates the work that the new leadership team have done thus far, as is demonstrated in our early years provision, which was awarded 'good'.

"We are proud of our school and all that we have achieved as a community, especially within the context of this extremely challenging time.

"We are a safe, nurturing and inclusive school and confident that we now have the strategic plans in place, with the full support of our trust, to ensure that all areas are successfully addressed, in close partnership with our families and wider community.

"All that we do at St Mary's is underpinned by our school mission statement, 'With Christ as our guide, we let our light shine' and we will continue to encourage every student here to aspire to greatness."

The Ofsted report raised concerns about the behaviour of pupils, slow learning due to poor curriculum planning, teachers not always consolidating pupils' prior knowledge before learning new material, staff workload and poor communication with parents.

The school has been advised to improve by filling the gaps in pupils' knowledge while introducing new learning and helping pupils to plan their work so that they can catch up quickly if they fall behind.

St Mary's has also been asked to give greater support to teachers so they can implement the new behaviour policy and stop disruptive behaviour and to listen and communicate clearly with parents and carers.

Executive headteacher, Kirstie Yuen, is currently head of both St Mary's Catholic Primary School and St Gregory's Catholic Primary School in Grange Road. Both schools are part of the 'Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Academies Trust.'

The last inspection carried out at St Gregory's was in 2018 and Ofsted said that it 'requires improvement.'

Parents have expressed concern that the two primary schools sharing a headteacher may have played a part in the outcome of St Mary's latest inspection.

In response to this, Ms Yuen said: "As executive headteacher, I work closely with governors and senior leaders and hold strategic responsibility. We have strong senior leadership teams established in both schools, with clear lines of accountability.

"The role of executive headteacher is an increasingly popular model associated with positive trends in improvements in attainment, school improvement and school leadership."

The last inspection of St Mary's took place in October 2018, which examined the school's religious character. That was the first inspection of the school since before it was converted to an academy in 2016.

The last full inspection of the school took place in 2013, when Ofsted rated St Mary's as 'good.'