A SCHOOL recommended for special measures by inspectors can still “guarantee success” for its pupils, its headteacher said yesterday.
An Estyn report released on Tuesday found that Saltney Ferry Primary School was deemed “unsatisfactory” by inspectors, who recommended it should be placed in special measures.
The school, which has 237 pupils aged between three and 11, will become the first school in the county to enter special measures.
A joint statement released on behalf of the school’s acting head Charlotte Luke and chairwoman of governors Louise Harris says school officials believe changes can be made to ensure pupils succeed at the school, despite the inspectors’ findings.
The statement said: “There has been a journey of improvement within the school community over recent years.
“We firmly believe we are able to make the necessary improvements to guarantee success for all of our children.”
Estyn inspectors visited Saltney Ferry CP in January this year and their damning report found the school was “unsatisfactory” as, although standards improved slightly in 2012-2013, pupil achievement in the end of key stage two assessments did not compare well to that of similar schools or to local and national benchmarks over the last five years.
This was particularly evident in English, the inspection report found.
In addition, pupils in lower key stage two do not capitalise on achievements made in the foundation phase, Estyn said.
Among other criticisms in the report, independent learning, information and communication technology (ICT) and thinking skills were said to be underdeveloped.
Inspectors said many pupils have poor concentration and social skills, which hinders their learning; and the quality of teaching and assessment was deemed as inconsistent across the school.
Estyn inspectors will now carry out termly visits to monitor whether the school is making sufficient progress in implementing the action plan being drawn up to improve the situation.
The school’s joint statement added that Mrs Luke and Mrs Harris acknowledge the findings of the Estyn report.
It says the wellbeing of its learners, which it described as “happy and settled children”, will remain a priority.
It said that responses from learner questionnaires show that “100 per cent of our children feel safe in the school and that teachers and others in the school help them to learn and make progress”.
Flintshire Council’s director of lifelong learning, Ian Budd, said: “It is extremely important the school’s community and its partners work speedily and thoroughly to tackle the identified challenges.
“We have confidence the leadership arrangements that have been put into place are already making a difference in the day-to-day life in school.”
In addition to the report, a letter from Estyn strategic director Meilyr Rowlands to Welsh Education Minister Huw Lewis AM, seen by the Leader said shortcomings at the schools need addressing as a matter of urgency.