Swindon School praised in Ofsted report but some still struggling with basics (From Swindon Advertiser)
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Swindon School praised in Ofsted report but some still struggling with basics
LEAGUE tables for Swindon primary schools have been published at the same time as an Ofsted report highlighted the work of one in particular.
Haydon Wick Primary was chosen for praise by Ofsted after being rated outstanding earlier this year, and finished 16th in the league tables.
But a number of primaries did not fare as well.
In November 2012, a pre-warning notice was given to Swindon Academy as one of 34 academies nationwide which were found to be underperforming.
This year it placed 50th in the local rankings, with only 56 per cent of its pupils achieving a level 4 at Key Stage 2 in reading, writing and maths.
Sevenfields Primary in Penhill came bottom of the list, with less than half of pupils achieving at least a level 4 at Key Stage 2 in reading, writing and maths. Progress is being made in writing, as while only 52 per cent are currently achieving a level 4, 91 per cent made progress of two or more levels between the ages of seven and 11. The school would not comment on the tables.
Haydon Wick Primary headteacher Simon Cowley, said work in Swindon schools will reap rewards. “There is fantastic practice taking place across the local authority which may not be recognised here,” he said.
“Schools are much more prepared now. Over time we will see the progress they will have made for each individual pupil. We do not have any magic formula, but we make sure we target all pupils, no matter what their background or starting point.
“We were rated outstanding by Ofsted earlier this year, which was the result of the level of focus on the quality of teaching. We make sure lessons are lively, fun and provide challenges for pupils. We as a school have a shared ambition to make sure every individual in the school reaches their potential.
“Over the last few years we have developed a very stimulating curriculum, and all staff in the school are excellent role models. I would like to share our ideas with other schools and hear from them as well, because it is better to work together.”
Schools are now moving out of local authority control, with four West Swindon schools forming the Link Collaborative Trust, and the new primary at Tadpole Farm becoming part of the Bristol Academies Trust.
MP Justin Tomlinson said of the tables: “This shows absolutely why we need to continue to reform our education system with our free schools and academies programme, giving greater freedoms to the schools that excel, underlined with performance related pay.
“I have seen first hand, as I have visited my local schools, what a real difference inspirational heads and teachers can make. We need to make sure they are free to deliver the much needed improvements in their schools.
“The best way to keep achievement up is to drive up the results. It is the end result that matters for the children, who only have one opportunity at an education.”
Coun Fionuala Foley, cabinet member for children’s services, was unavailable for comment yesterday.
- THE poorest pupils in Swindon are being let down by the system, according to the Ofsted report.
The first report into education standards in the south west found less than a fifth of pupils who qualified for free school meals in Swindon went on to achieve at least a Level 3 qualification by 19.
In Swindon barely a quarter of pupils eligible for free school meals achieved five good GCSEs, well below the national average.
Certain schools have been picked out for special treatment by the inspectorate, and seminars and improvement workshops have been carried out with schools identified as needing extra support by Swindon Council.
Primary schools in the town were found to be performing relatively well, with 81 per cent of pupils attending good or outstanding schools.
But at secondary school level only half of learners had access to a good or outstanding school.
Swindon College was given a special mention by the report as an exception to the rule. Executive director Amanda Burnside said underperformance poses a challenge for the college.
“There is an issue in Swindon with low performance, because we are only working with what comes in,” said Amanda. “There is generally low achievement at maths, so we are working from a very low base.
“When students are here they will achieve well, but are coming in with a low level of ability. In some colleges disadvantaged students do not do so well, and there needs to be a level playing field.”
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