Northampton school criticised by Ofsted for poor pupil absence and punctuality...but new leadership team says issues are being addressed

The Ofsted report, published on November 12, outlines the schools strengths and weaknesses.
The Ofsted report, published on November 12, outlines the schools strengths and weaknesses.

Ofsted has criticised the personal development and behaviour at a Northampton primary school as rates of absence sit below average for more than a year.

Ofsted has registered a rating of "requires improvement" at The Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School, in Kingsland Gardens, Kingsthorpe, which comes after the school converted to an academy in April 2016. It is the first Ofsted report since the conversion.

Over a two-day inspection, Her Majesty's Inspector Christine Watkins noted that "the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is not consistently good," "the combined results for attainment in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 have remained well below the national average for at least two years" and "leaders shared with inspectors that there is a persistent issue at the school with punctuality".

Richard Williams, chief executive of the St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Academies Trust, said: “Since joining the trust earlier this year, I have been working closely with the team at The Good Shepherd in order to put a decisive and rapid school improvement plan in place, something that I am pleased to say the inspection team have recently recognised."

From September 2018 there has been changes to the senior leadership team at all levels, the report adds.

The new interim senior leadership team were praised for leading the school well.

In the past two months leaders have reviewed the school's curriculum and have successfully made sure it is now "broad and balanced" following issues with "unnecessary repetition."

Mr Williams added: “Through the introduction of a new improvement board, new leadership structures, a review of the school-wide curriculum and regular support and challenge, we have quickly addressed standards and expectations for the benefit of pupils."

While four out of five sub-judgements scored requires improvement, early years provision was rated good.

Inspectors found that children, including those who are disadvantaged, achieve high and are ready to progress on to Year 1.

A nod was given to the early years teachers and their assistants for explaining activities well and creating a "well-designed curriculum."

“We are delighted that our early years provision continues to be recognised as good and that pupils enjoy learning, they are proud of their school and praise its friendly atmosphere," Mr Williams said.

The report also welcomed how safeguarding measures are effective - which was agreed by the school, parents and pupils - and described improving middle leadership and positive morale.