West Berkshire Council and Lambourn C of E Primary School are working together on an improvement plan for the school following an OFSTED inspection which judged it ‘Inadequate’.
The school was inspected in March 2017 and the report published in May 2017. It identified key areas for improvement at the school and an improvement plan has been put in place by the governors and teachers, and supported by West Berkshire Council, to address those concerns.
Speaking following the report Neil Hastle, Chair of Governors at Lambourn C of E Primary said: “Of course we are very disappointed by this report but we have a clear plan in place to bring about improvements at the school. We had already identified some of the issues ourselves before the inspection and started to address them; in particular by appointing a new Headteacher in February to provide stability and lead the programme of work we need to do.”
Over the last four years, the school has had great difficulty in recruiting and retaining a head teacher, a problem many schools are currently facing nationwide. The successive changes in leadership were highlighted in the report as contributing to preventing the school from maintaining a good standard of education and for the subsequent decline in standards.
Pupils were found to have weak basic skills and the monitoring of the quality of teaching was judged to be not as rigourous as it should be. There has been insufficient guidance to teachers on how to improve their skills and the curriculum is currently too narrow to allow pupils to study in any depth.
A new Headteacher, Mrs Rachael Duke, was appointed in February and is already implementing changes at the school. The report noted that Mrs Duke has a clear understanding of what needs to improve and that she has brought about stability and quickly gained the confidence of staff and parents.
West Berkshire Council’s School Improvement Team will work with the governors and teaching staff to provide advice and support to Lambourn C of E Primary School to assist them with the implementation of their plan.
Neil Hastle said, “We were thrilled to appoint Mrs Duke as our new head teacher. It is safe to say that she is proving to be the leader we expected. Her calm, organised and intelligent style has won the confidence of children, staff, and parents alike. She has already made visible and sustained progress in teaching and learning.
Mrs Duke said, “Despite the outcome, Inspectors found much to commend the school for and the report contains many positives for us to take away. Whilst Ofsted recognised the strong upward direction of the school, they can only judge our recent history. We are taking on this challenge with enthusiasm and feel confident of a positive and promising future.”
Ian Pearson, Head of Education at West Berkshire Council said, “This is a disappointing result. However, the appointment of Mrs Duke has already brought not only the stable leadership that the school has been sadly lacking but a clear plan and direction for improvement. She has the full support of Governors, staff and pupils and I feel sure that the power of this willing collective will bring forth the improvements needed.”