THE quality of teaching at a special needs school in Liden is too inconsistent according to Ofsted.
An inspection by the education regulator was carried out into The Chalet School last month but this week, the highly-critical findings were published.
At their previous inspection, the school, which caters for pupils aged three to 11 with complex learning difficulties, was rated good but following Ofsted’s latest visit, they have now been rated as ‘requires improvement’.
In the report, Ofsted said: “There has been a lack of strategic leadership of the school. The long-term school development plan does not identify clear priorities for improvement.
“Both the headteacher and the deputy headteacher are aware that they have been unable to fulfil all of their responsibilities, because they spend much of their time either teaching or supporting individual pupils.
“The quality of teaching is too inconsistent across the school.
“Teachers make judgements about pupils’ abilities based on different information. There has been no agreed method of doing this across the school. In some classes there is very little evidence on which assessments are based. This means that assessment information is unreliable.”
Ofsted were also quick to comment on how the school had no early years leader and despite efforts from the headteacher to offer support, they called leadership at the school “weak”.
The report added: “Leaders, including governors, are not aware of which areas of the school’s work need to be improved. Not enough attention has been placed on checking the quality of teaching and learning, so leaders have not noticed the variation in quality of practice between teachers.”
Despite the criticisms, The Chalet School maintained a good rating in their outcome for pupils and were praised for their attitude towards learning.
In a statement, the school said: “We are naturally disappointed with Ofsted’s grading of the school, but we acknowledge the areas in which we need to improve. Many of the issues identified within the report were already being addressed and that work will continue as we strive to retain The Chalet School’s previous ‘good’ rating.
“Both the senior leadership team and governing board have been working closely with the local authority to improve the leadership and management of the school and this will see changes to the staffing structure as well as the appointment of an additional teacher in the early years phase.
“Measures have been put in place so that teachers work more closely together to share best practice internally and with other schools, while phonics training sessions are also being introduced to enable teaching assistants to better support pupils when reading and writing is being taught.”