‘Staffing turbulance’ and ‘too many newly qualified teachers’ are to blame for a local school dropping an Ofsted grade.
Sitlington Netherton J&I School was judged to be ‘requiring improvement’ in its latest Ofsted report published last week, just two years after inspectors judged it to be good back in 2011.
Inspectors who visited the school in January, said: “Over time, there has been a lack of consistency in the practice of teachers, and recently a lot of staffing turbulence. These factors have contributed in falling attainment over the last three years.”
The report added: “It has been difficult to sustain the necessary pace of change required for the school to progress because of the time being given to newly- qualified teachers.”
Inspectors said pupils’ progress between Years 3 and 6 was ‘not good enough,’ but acknowledged they achieved close to the national average by the time they left for secondary school. They said achievement for younger pupils was above average because of the ‘excellent start’ they made from reception class to the end of Year 2.
The work of the acting headteacher was highlighted among the school’s strengths, with inspectors saying she had ‘raised morale.’
The report also acknowledged staff, governors and the local authority were ‘strongly committed’ to boosting the school’s Ofsted grade.
It said: “The acting headteacher is providing effective leadership.
“She communicated high expectations and has the full support of staff and governors.
“Morale is high, as is the belief that the recent decline in standards at the top of the school is being addressed with vigour.”
Teaching observed during the inspection was judged to be good, and some of it was found to be outstanding, but the report said there were not enough teachers able to carry out subject leadership roles.
Inspectors also praised pupil behaviour, adding: “Pupils become confident and mature in their relationships, and are enthusiastic learners, creating a positive atmosphere throughout the school.
“Everyone agrees that the school is safe and extremely happy place to learn, where behaviour is good.”