Independent school in Oldbury still 'inadequate' despite warnings

A primary school in Oldbury has received another inadequate rating in its most recent Ofsted inspection despite being told previously that it “must take action”.

Al Khair Primary School on Oak Green Way, Oldbury
Al Khair Primary School on Oak Green Way, Oldbury

Al Khair Primary School, on Oak Green Way, is a Muslim day school for boys and girls. When responding to the report headteacher Sajad Akram said comparing it to mainstream schools is like “comparing grapes to watermelons”.

Following the inspection on March 29, inspectors stated the quality of education, leadership and management and early years provision was ‘inadequate- the lowest rating.

Officers pointed to a lack of “knowledge” and “expertise” among staff members and called for improvements.

Helen Forrest, lead inspector said: “Staff do not have the necessary subject knowledge and skills they need to lead and implement the curriculum effectively. Leaders should make sure that staff gain the expertise they need to teach all areas of the curriculum so that pupils make the progress of which they are capable.

“The curriculum in early years is not effective. Leaders have not identified the core knowledge they want pupils to know and remember across the seven areas of learning. As a result, pupils do not develop the knowledge and skills they need to be ready for the next stage of their learning.

“There are still too many areas that have not improved enough since the last full inspection. The proprietor, for example, has not ensured that all staff with leadership roles have the knowledge and skills required to carry out these roles effectively.”

Despite issues with the curriculum and staff, the report did praise the behaviour of the pupils and the opportunities provided for them to develop.

It said: “Children at this school are happy and feel safe.

“This is because leaders and staff take good care of pupils and have positive relationships with them. The school promotes positive values and has a strong personal development curriculum.

“Pupils show great respect for adults and each other. Pupils and parents who gave feedback say that there is no bullying at this school. Staff help to sort out issues that do arise immediately.”

In response Mr Akram said: “If you just do the basic math you will see that we are operating almost below the national living wage. The teachers who are here, despite being inexperienced, are very passionate.

“We’re trying to punch above our weight. It’s not a level playing field that we are judged by. Our main competitors are state schools who are on a multi-million-pound budget. It’s not even like comparing apples and oranges it’s like comparing grapes to watermelons.”

Whilst acknowledging his school’s small budget Mr Akram said they will improve.

He continued: “We’re now creating money that we haven’t got and we are confident we will respond to it.”

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