Northampton primary school is “improving”

Briar Hill Primary School. ENGNNL00120121203171729
Briar Hill Primary School. ENGNNL00120121203171729

A primary school in Northampton that was rated “inadequate” before it became an academy in November last year is now showing signs of improvement, Ofsted inspectors say.

Following a two-day inspection earlier this month, a report published last week revealed the school is beginning to progress in some areas, after it was previously judged as “causing concern” during its last inspection in 2012.

The inspectors commended Briar Hill Primary for its progress in reading and writing amongst Key Stage 1 children, and dubbed its pupils as “polite, helpful and respectful.”

However, the report said that the primary school still had some way to go before it could be graded as a “good” school.

Headteacher Tania Watts said: “While positive steps have been taken and improvements are starting to be seen, we have not been able to show it over a long enough period of time to get a better Ofsted grade.

“This is a significant step in the right direction for our school and our community.”

Ofsted highlighted several key areas which require improvement, including the quality of teaching, and methods used to motivate and challenge pupils.

It said that progress is limited where work set does not test students at an appropriate level, including those who are more able pupils. The report also describes “significant turbulence and disruption” to teaching over the last 18 months after staff absences and poor teaching standards have rocked the school’s stability.

Since 2012, Briar Hill Primary School has been under the control of the David Ross Education Trust and became an academy in November 2012. Chief Executive for the Trust, Wendy Marshall, said: “By no means do we consider our work at Briar Hill is done. Changes have been made and the inspector notes that the school is now seeing more stability, but we need to continue our strong focus on whole school improvement.”