Dear Parents

OFSTED Inspection Report May 2013

Alongside the end of this letter you will find posted our recent OFSTED Report. A meeting was held on the 5th June where parents were given the opportunity to ask questions about the OFSTED Inspection report.

Meanwhile there are three important things I would like to make clear

  • I would like to reassure you that any areas judged to ‘require improvement’ have already been, or will be shortly, addressed with great energy and commitment by our leadership team, our dedicated colleagues and our hugely supportive governors.
  • I can confirm that an action plan has been drawn up, and the school development plan refined, to incorporate the OFSTED priorities and timescales, whilst still addressing our longer term improvement objectives. You will see that the four areas identified by OFSTED for improving teaching are: assessment, matching work to child’s ability, marking and targets. All these are addressed in our action plan.
  • I promise not to lose sight of the many areas in which Holy Trinity is excellent, whether or not they are measured by the new OFSTED inspection framework. Our values, creative curriculum, and commitment to slow and deep learning will always underpin learning at this school. The new framework puts a much greater emphasis on factual learning and methods of measuring success, sometimes without either understanding, or a creative approach.


The OFSTED process
The OFSTED judgement is based on the premise of looking at a narrow element of school learning and expanding that to a whole school judgement. Holy Trinity is an excellent school which educates the whole child and engenders a ‘love of life’ (as the report stated) for its students. They are prepared to face the academic, social and emotional rigours of the next stage of education, as well as being allowed to develop their spiritual and creative capacities. These aspects, which were the reasons why many of you chose the school, did not form part of this inspection, and so have been overlooked. Everyone walking into the school sees happy children learning well. OFSTED drives for something more easily measured: making most junior schools’ curriculum almost solely English and Maths, and Year Six simply SATS preparation. We believe you want more for your children than that. We will always be committed to a broader curriculum which will stretch children’s intellectual capacities as well as their test results.

The OFSTED judgements were made in two ways. First, by comparing test results achieved in year 6 with those in year 2 (referred to as Progress). Even though Attainment for children has always remained at a high and expected level, our scores for Maths in 2011, and Maths and Writing in 2012, did not show enough progress. Despite us now making good progress in all subjects and in all year groups, this historical data blighted the whole inspection. The second way judgements were made was by extrapolating general comments from scant evidence.

Children, staff , governors and parents
I would like to thank our children who, as always, were friendly, polite, enthusiastic and engaged during the inspection. They answered questions with clarity and understanding, and showed their confidence and independence of thought. One of the Inspectors described them as ‘absolutely delightful’. All staff worked tirelessly, as they always do, to show the school in its true light. When some of the most successful and respected teachers, who repeatedly have been judged ‘Outstanding’ by previous OFSTED teams and our own consultants, were told on the first day the they ‘required improvement’, we realised the full extent of the new OFSTED approach.

Our team of governors, who were much more in the headlights than in previous inspections, are an outstanding group of skilled and aware people who hold the school to account and play an active part in the management of the school.

I would like to thank you all as a vital part of the school community, for your support and encouragement before, during and after the event - from the people who spruced up areas of the school, to those who brought cakes and treats which have been arriving since the inspection. I would especially like to thank the 200 plus parents who logged into Parent View to express their views of the school. The responses to all questions bar one gave an impressive upper 90% approval rating. The issue of homework, which remains a contentious subject, is being addressed afresh in this year’s School Development Plan.

Moving forward
Finally, I would like to reiterate that the creative curriculum was considered a strength by the inspection team. We will continue to work in a way which celebrates and develops the whole child. We will now re-double our efforts to make all of our teaching the very best around. I will strive to achieve a standard which will be recognised by everyone, including OFSTED, to be the very best.

With best wishes
Yours sincerely
Richard Rowe

Ofsted Report 2013

Diary

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