Wolverhampton primary school head promises action after Ofsted downgrade

A Wolverhampton primary school has been downgraded by Ofsted – but its headteacher has promised to address the findings.

SS. Mary and John Primary Academy in Caledonia Road, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google
SS. Mary and John Primary Academy in Caledonia Road, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google

SS Mary and John’s, in the Ettingshall ward, was previously rated ‘good’ by inspectors. But it was visited by Ofsted in March, the first full inspection for seven years.

The inspection agency gave the Catholic primary a ‘requires improvement’ rating, while identifiying some positive points.

The Caledonia Road academy provides education for 230 pupils aged three to 11. Standards of children’s personal development, behaviour and attitude remained good, said the report.

Lead inspector Lorraine Lord wrote: “This is a welcoming, caring school where pupils are happy and safe. In the main, leaders have created a structured and coherent curriculum.

“However, teachers do not have the subject knowledge they need to teach some areas of the curriculum well enough. This means they do not always set work that meets pupils’ needs. When this happens, attitudes to learning decline.

“The school is aware that it needs to improve early reading and has appointed a new early reading leader and identified pupils who have fallen behind. But leaders do not set high enough expectations of what pupils can achieve and phonics is not taught well,” she added.

A recent improvement in the teaching of special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) was noted in the report, with most SEND pupils now accessing the same curriculum as other pupils.

It said activities including after-school clubs had also been cautiously reinstated following the relaxation in Covid restrictions, and pupils enjoyed attending these clubs as well as taking regular walks to the local church.

“The arrangements for safeguarding are effective and school leaders ensure that staff know what to do if they have concerns about a pupil,” said the report.

“They are aware of specific areas of concern such as protecting pupils from sexual harassment, domestic abuse and radicalisation. This includes support from external agencies when necessary.”

School principal Joanne Hinslip said: “We are pleased that inspectors recognised the warm, caring ethos of our academy and its areas of strength, such as safeguarding, pastoral support and personal development of pupils.

“The report recognised that leaders have created a structured and coherent curriculum that has supported children to demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviours to learning.

“We are focused on accelerating progress in order to address the areas for development raised in the report and to provide an outstanding Catholic education for all pupils,” she added.

Ofsted highlighted early years provision, leadership, management and the overall quality of education as the key areas where the school needed to improve.

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