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Croydon Primary School goes from 'outstanding' to 'inadequate' in latest Ofsted report

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A PRIMARY school has plummeted from 'outstanding' to 'inadequate' in its latest Ofsted report.

Parish Church CE Junior School, in Waddon, was given the watchdog's lowest possible grade because its pupils "significantly underachieve", particularly in reading and writing.

A report, published this week, said the school's "overall effectiveness has declined drastically" since it was last inspected in 2010.

It found that on most days pupils only wrote a few words in their books. 

The school's problems were exacerbated by its "extremely over-generous evaluation of its own performance," said Ofsted.

Head teacher Wendy Jacobs, who was not in place during June's inspection, declined to comment when contacted by the Advertiser this week. She replaced David Morgan who retired at the end of the summer term.

Despite Parish Church's sudden fall from grace, there are currently no plans for it to be converted into an academy, as other failing state schools automatically are when judged to be failing.

Croydon Council said Ms Jacobs was as an "experienced" head teacher with a "proven track record" and would be given time to turn the school around.

Parish Church, a church school controlled by the Diocese of Southwark, performed above the national average in this summer's SATs, with 83 per cent of pupils achieving at least a Level 4 in reading, writing and maths.

However, the inspection team said the school needed to do far more with pupils who enter the school at an above average level but leave having made little to no improvement.

They were particularly critical of the lack of progress made by pupils from deprived backgrounds, who receive additional financial support, and said gaps in attainment were widening.

"The school is not promoting equality of opportunity because pupils who are eligible for additional funding do markedly less well when compared with others in the school and with similar pupils nationally," the report said.

Pupils who have just moved into Year 4 made "extremely slow" progress and nearly a third of pupils now in Year 5 and 6 failed to make the necessary strides last year.

"Progress in writing declined over time and is now well below the minimum expected rates," the report said.

Ofsted said the problems were caused be "inadequate" teachers who do no check progress regularly and a governing body which fails to hold them to account.

"Too often teachers do not have high enough expectations of what pupils can do," the report said.

Pupil progress is not checked regularly meaning some pupils "lose concentration and do not complete enough work because the task is either too easy or confuses them".

Evidence of books in Year 3, 4, and 5, the report said, showed that on most days children often wrote only a few words in their books.

Behaviour, despite being the only area of the school not judged to be inadequate, was also criticised. Pupils from several classes told Ofsted they were "frequently bored" and often chatted loudly in class, distracting others.

The governing body is criticised for failing to question the school's exaggerated opinion of itself and because it should have ensured teachers' performance was "linked to salary".

The 420-pupil primary expanded this month to take a fourth form of entry as part of the council's plans to meet the demand for school places.

The one positive aspect of the inspection was Ofsted recognised that pupils' "spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is well promoted".

A council spokesman said: "The council has worked with the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education to appoint an experienced head teacher with a proven track record to replace the former head who left at the end of last term. We have also helped provide additional teaching and learning support from two outstanding practitioners on a weekly basis.

"We believe the school now has sufficient capacity to make rapid progress and we're satisfied with the actions they have already taken."

Croydon Primary School goes from 'outstanding' to 'inadequate' in latest Ofsted report


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