Special measures for Leeds school after 'exceptionally low' standards found, says Ofsted

Hunslet St Mary's CoE Primary School in Leeds.
Hunslet St Mary's CoE Primary School in Leeds.

A Leeds primary school has been rated inadequate after a watchdog found it had showed "exceptionally low" standards.

An Ofsted report released today has given the Hunslet St Mary's Church of England Primary School its lowest grade possible - a drop from 'good' overall in 2013 - and said it requires special measures.

Inspectors assessed the school last December and conducted a follow-up visit in January.

The report reads: "Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school."

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Elsewhere, it reads: "Leaders have not been successful in their attempts to improve the school. Leaders’ evaluations of the school’s performance are inaccurate.

"Standards are exceptionally low because of the slow progress made by too many pupils, especially in learning to read. Too few pupils leave Year 6 sufficiently well prepared for secondary school each year."

Outcomes achieved by disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities "are not improving rapidly enough", it said.

Although the curriculum was "reasonably broad and balanced", the progress pupils made across a wide range of subjects and year groups was "far too variable and is weak overall", it continued.

Inspectors said that in key stages one and two, the overall quality of teaching was poor and that teachers’ expectations of pupils were not high enough.

"Too often the work teachers set is too easy," the report reads.

"This is because they do not assess what pupils know, understand and can do effectively."

It continues: "Too many pupils are easily distracted and disrupt the learning of others in lessons because they lack self-discipline and teaching does not engage or inspire them.

"Too often, pupils do not report their peers’ use of discriminatory language. Occasionally, adults do not notice poor behaviour."

The governing body had not effectively challenged and supported leaders to improve the school, according to the report.

Inspectors said that an external reviews of governance and the school’s use of the pupil premium should be undertaken to assess how those aspect of leadership and management may be improved.

The school may not appoint newly qualified teachers, the report states.

In terms of the school's strengths, the report said that children get off to a good start in early years and effective teaching helps them to make good progress.

The majority of pupils behave well and show good manners, it said.

The report also said that arrangements for safeguarding were effective and that systems, procedures and checks for ensuring the safe recruitment of staff were in place.

Ofsted rated the Church Street school inadequate overall and in the categories of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and outcomes for pupils.

The area of personal development, behaviour and welfare requires improvement, while early years provision was rated as good.

Leeds City Council deputy director for learning Phil Mellen said: “The report highlights a number of areas requiring urgent improvement and through working with the Diocese of Leeds steps have already been taken to ensure that improving the quality of leadership, teaching and learning in school has been given priority.

"There are some positives in the report including the quality of teaching in early years and the school is committed to building on this across all areas of learning to ensure pupils are given the best possible education.”