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Poplars Community Primary School, in St Margaret’s Road, Lowestoft, told it needs to improve after latest Ofsted inspection





A town school has been told it needs to improve after its first full inspection since becoming part of an academy trust.

Poplars Community Primary School, in St Margaret’s Road, Lowestoft, was visited by Ofsted on November 21 and 22, and was graded as requires improvement (RI).

It received a good rating in all areas with the exception of quality of education, for which it received the RI grading.

Poplars Community Primary School, in St Margaret's Road, Lowestoft, was graded requires improvement in its latest Ofsted inspection. Picture: Evolution Academy Trust
Poplars Community Primary School, in St Margaret's Road, Lowestoft, was graded requires improvement in its latest Ofsted inspection. Picture: Evolution Academy Trust

The school had a short inspection in June 2022 after converting to an academy, where it retained its previous good rating.

However, there was evidence the grade would have been lower had a full inspection been carried out.

Gemma Hurren, headteacher of Poplars Community Primary School which is part of Evolution Academy Trust, said: “As has been noted in the report, the new leadership team has made a significant difference to school.

“Trust leaders will continue to support the team at Poplars to further enhance the overwhelming positive offering at the school, and we have no doubt that the encouraging changes recently implemented will enhance the learning of all children going forward.”

Inspectors Jonny Wallace, Helen McCarney and Stephen Cloke said Poplars was an improving school with its leadership team working hard to bring about change and set pupils up for success.

Reading was a priority in the curriculum, but past weaknesses meant older pupils were not able to read fluently, the report said.

The school ensured that students who are behind receive ‘intensive daily reading support’ but some pupils ‘remain significantly behind’ in what they know.

In some subjects the curriculum was recently revised, with children not having the chance to learn planned content yet.

As a result, their learning of key knowledge and skills was not consistent across different subjects and there were some gaps in knowledge.

Students enjoyed attending Poplars, inspectors said. They appreciated improvements the school had made and the increased sense of community it brought.

The school had ‘clear systems to identify and support’ special educational needs and/or development (SEND) pupils, with necessary adaptations made to ensure SEND students can access and enjoy learning.

The report said there was a clear and consistent behaviour policy, with pupils meeting the school’s high expectations and thriving on the praise awarded for good behaviour.

School leaders and governors had the necessary expertise to drive further development, with their actions having a positive impact on pupils.