Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Head says let’s work together to improve school

THE new headteacher of Benson Primary School says she is determined to make the school “good” by its next Ofsted

THE new headteacher of Benson Primary School says she is determined to make the school “good” by its next Ofsted inspection in a year’s time.

Helen Crolla, who started work in January, says the school has the potential to reach “outstanding” status in the long term if her improvement plan is put into practice.

The Oxford Road school was told it “requires improvement” after its last inspection by the education watchdog in February. This equates to the “satisfactory” grade it was given by inspectors after the last two visits.

Mrs Crolla said: “We are aiming for good which will be a challenge in a year. The [inspectors’] report said our plan was very sharply focused and we will continue with that and evaluate it as we go along.

“I think the school has the potential to be outstanding in the long term so that is what the aim is. I have high expectations of myself and my staff and the school community and I think with that attitude we will get there together.”

In the latest inspection, the achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching and leadership and management were deemed to “require improvement” and the behaviour and safety of pupils was rated as “good”.

Pupils’ progress and achievement in mathematics was identified as one of the school’s weaknesses.

Mrs Crolla, who has worked in primary education since she graduated from university more than 20 years ago, said: “I think it was a fair report. It highlighted the strengths of the school and I was particularly pleased that good behaviour and sport were identified as strengths and that teaching and learning was good.

“We have already refined our version of the school plan and we are now sharing that with the governors and the parents. It will then go on to our new website which is currently being built to share our successes within the school community and the wider community and also provide a reference point for learning support at home.”

Mrs Crolla said her own two sons, aged 14 and three, helped her identify with the concerns of pupils’ families about maths teaching. These would be addressed at a parents’ evening to be held in the coming term.

There would be a sharper focus on planning maths lessons and professional support from subject specialists.

She said: “We want all children to fulfil their potential to reach the targets that they are given within the year.

“High-quality teaching enables high-quality learning. It is about making learning exciting and challenging the children so they are engaged while behaving well at the same time — that is the challenge for us.

“A lot of our staff are new to the profession so really it is about nurturing them so that they can achieve a good quality of teaching.

“I believe in a learning community where everybody is learning. I think it is important that myself, the staff and the children don’t get to a point where they stop learning to enable the school to grow and become excellent.”

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