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West Row Academy near Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall 'requires improvement' according to Ofsted

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A primary school has been judged by Ofsted to require improvement in every area after a visit by inspectors.

At West Row Academy in Beeches Road, West Row, near Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall, pupils are not learning well in some subjects and in a small number of classes there is some disruptive behaviour, the inspection report said.

The school, which is part of the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust, was inspected by Ofsted on May 25 and 26 and found to require improvement overall, as well as five specific areas including quality of education and behaviour and attitudes. Safeguarding was deemed effective.

West Row Academy near Bury Saint Edmunds has been judged by Ofsted to require improvement. Picture: Mark Westley
West Row Academy near Bury Saint Edmunds has been judged by Ofsted to require improvement. Picture: Mark Westley

It was also rated as 'requires improvement' in 2017 when it was West Row Community Primary School, before it joined the academy trust.

The latest Ofsted inspection report said: "Pupils say that they enjoy their learning. However, pupils are not learning well in some subjects.

"They are not always supported to gain the knowledge they need. Pupils often do not have the opportunities to practise what they learn. Pupils struggle to recall what they have been taught.

"Pupils mostly behave well around the school. Pupils play well together at breaktimes and lunchtimes. However, some pupils are frustrated when other pupils’ behaviour in class disrupts their learning."

It also said pupils enjoy the range of sports clubs and activities and, as they get older, they take on responsibilities in school, such as reading with the younger pupils.

Pupils feel that staff care about them and parents appreciate the extra support the school provides to families, with the report mentioning that some pupils receive help from a school counsellor as part of the pastoral support team.

Most pupils say that they feel safe. "Pupils know what bullying is and say that when this happens in school it is dealt with quickly by teachers," the report added.

To improve, the inspectors felt the school needed to focus on curriculum planning, staff training and assessment strategies for some subjects, as well as developing children’s language and knowledge in the early years.

They also said leaders need to ensure pupils read books that are closely matched to their abilities and that staff monitor this effectively, and leaders should ensure staff are using appropriate strategies to help them consistently manage pupils’ behaviour effectively.

Principal Elisabeth Close said: "We are disappointed to not yet be graded good, but we are confident that the improvements we are making will support us in securing a good judgement at our next inspection.

"We were really pleased Ofsted recognised our children enjoy their learning and that they play well together during their free time. It was also pleasing that Ofsted recognised the range of sporting activities we offer to ensure that our children live healthy lifestyles and that children take responsibility for supporting each other. We were happy to hear that parents appreciate the extra support the school provides to families.

"We have focused heavily on improving the teaching and learning across the curriculum, and although there is still work to do, we have already begun to address many of the issues highlighted within the Ofsted report, especially in the early years.

"Reading is the cornerstone of learning and there have been significant changes in the way we approach the teaching of reading, the profile of reading in school and the types of books available to our children.

"The inspection team noted that behaviour around the school is calm and our pupils treat each other with respect and are polite. They recorded that in lessons, most pupils behave well but there is some low-level, off-task chatter and behaviour. Some of our pupils feel that behaviour is not dealt with consistently and we have already begun work to improve our behaviour policy ready for September.

"We are already seeing rapid improvement throughout the school and we look forward to working collaboratively with the trust to maintain and build on this so that we are judged at least good in our next inspection."