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Improvements underway at St Mary's Primary School
A MAJOR programme of improvements is underway at St Mary’s Primary School in Beaminster after government inspectors placed the school in ‘special measures’.
Following the school’s latest inspection in June, Ofsted has decided that the primary school should be placed in ‘special measures’, as it felt that pupils were not receiving an acceptable standard of education.
Acting headteacher Teri Goodinson said: “We are disappointed that St Mary’s has been put into special measures, but are doing everything we can to address the issues raised by Ofsted and are confident that we can turn the school around.”
She said staff and governors have already begun to make a number of improvements including teacher development, improving pupil attendance and more robust anti-bullying procedures.
Mrs Goodinson added: “We know that we have some way to go, but I can assure parents that staff and governors are deeply committed to making the necessary changes and have a robust plan of action to make sure that we rapidly improve our standards.”
The school had been expecting the move and in July called a meeting to explain the situation to parents – who gave the school their wholehearted support.
Chairman of governors Rosemary Rychvosky said at that meeting they were expecting to be labelled inadequate or be put into special measures.
She said: “But none of the independent advisors working with us have reached that judgement.”
Staff and governors lodged a formal complaint about the Ofsted inspection. Chris Vincent, Dorset County Council’s school improvement partner, was also at the meeting earlier in the year.
He has been working with St Mary’s School for three years.
He said: “The school continues to improve in all areas, apart from attendance, and has improved immeasurably since I first came here three years ago.”
Ofsted did identify a number of strengths during the school’s inspection. Inspectors said that:
- Children in the reception class settle into school well, improve their communication and language skills quickly and make good progress by the time they move into Year One.
- The school organises a variety of visits and visitors that give pupils a good understanding of the local area as well as opportunities to become involved in community events.
- Pupils with disabilities and special educational needs are well cared for and make good progress.
A team from Ofsted will be visiting the school regularly to assess progress against the school’s action plan.
St Mary’s CE VA Primary School has 151 pupils on its roll and teaches children aged from four years up until 11 years.