12 October 2018
As you are aware, our school was recently visited by Ofsted on 18 and 19 September 2018. The last inspection took place in 2011 and the whole school has therefore been working hard towards this long expected visit since my arrival in September 2015.
Since that previous inspection, the school has experienced more than one change in leadership and the Ofsted criteria have become dramatically different. I knew within a very short time of my arrival at Cheadle Primary School in 2015 that the 2011 judgement of “outstanding” was no longer valid and this was supported by several external monitoring visits. Therefore, from the initial contact on 17 September 2018 with the Lead Inspector, I was able to express my firm belief that the visit would warrant a two day Inspection, due to the expected change in judgement. As we all know, Ofsted Inspections can be open to question, however, I believe that on this occasion, the experienced team of HMI inspectors was very fair and the whole inspection process was undertaken in a rigorous and professional manner. During the two days of thorough investigation, very detailed, comprehensive and truthful information was provided by governors and the leadership team to assist the inspectors as much as possible to deliver a true judgement.
The Ofsted draft report has to be checked and quality assessed and I am now pleased to be able to share the findings of the final report with you. Whilst the overall judgement from Ofsted is that Cheadle Primary School still requires improvement, it is crucial to look at the detail within the report in order to fully understand where the school is now and the future direction we know it needs to take.
It was certainly reassuring to note that the Local Authority representatives and the Ofsted team all recognised the huge challenges that the school has faced during the past few years. I firmly believe that the entire school community has pulled together to support the very many changes already operating and embedded and I know from my everyday conversations with parents, staff and governors that we are all very excited about the plans for the future. Obviously, we are all understandably disappointed in the overall judgement grade, however, it has come as no surprise to the Governing Board or the Leadership Team and staff as we are all fully aware of how much further we need to go to achieve the absolute best that we can for our young people and families.
The school was delighted that the Ofsted team completely appreciated the school’s many significant strengths and that these strengths will enable us to address the areas where we do require improvement.
The fact that the final report highlights these “good” judgements as follows is very positive testament to the substantial work that has already been done, i.e.
- Effectiveness of Leadership & Management is GOOD
- Personal Development of the children is GOOD
- Behaviour and Welfare of the children is GOOD
- Early Years Provision is GOOD
We are fully aware that the school is still very much on a journey; however, it is important to note that our Early Years Foundation Stage data is consistently in line with national expectations at a good level of development including reading, writing and maths – this is very positive for the future as these children progress through the school. Our Year 1 phonics screening has produced outstanding results for the past three years and our Key Stage 1 results are in line with national again for the last three years. Again, this is testament to the priorities we have identified and the considerable work that has been done in the relevant areas. However, we also do recognise that children’s results at Key Stage 2 do still remain at below national level, although in last year’s results, the school achieved higher than national data in reading and we are in line with national data in grammar, punctuation and spelling and just below in maths. As the current Year 6 children were measured under the old national curriculum, there is still an expectation that until the blended curriculums have worked through, there may still be some inconsistency of data. We constantly strive to address this imbalance and we can see improvement.
As a consequence and in recognition of all of the above, we have to accept that whilst progress at Cheadle Primary School is very evident, the judgement for outcomes for pupils and quality of teaching, learning and assessment can be no other than “requires improvement” and, of course, the overall effectiveness of the school must reflect these two vital areas. It really is heartening to know that our self-review and strategic vision for the future accurately reflected the inspectors’ findings as our school self-evaluation document and development plan already include the suggested areas for improvement as recommended in the report.
As part of the inspection process, the team spoke to several parents and looked in detail at opinions expressed during our most recent parent survey. I would like to thank you all personally for your significant praise and support regarding the many successes that we have already achieved and your confidence in the many aspects of teaching and learning that we aim to achieve in the next few months and years to come. It is also very important to me to congratulate you all on your wonderful children – the reason why we all do what we do every single day. The Ofsted inspectors were most certainly impressed by their behaviour, knowledge and confidence and all their brilliant comments about their experiences and opportunities at Cheadle Primary School.
I am extremely proud to work within such a fantastic community and I know that I speak on behalf of our Governing Board and the whole staff team when I promise that we will continue to improve and provide all of you and, in particular, our young people with the very best education, life skills and experiences to enable them to move on to their chosen High School with high expectations of their entire future.
If you wish to discuss any aspects of the report, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be only too happy to discuss any aspect of the report with you in more detail.
Mrs D. Breeze