Ofsted tells a tale of two Portsmouth schools before they join together

BOOKISH Craig Duncan, acting headteacher at Charles Dickens Infant School, Portsmouth with pupils, from left, Ruth Yirgalam, five, Finnley Buss-Jones, six, and Madison McDuff, five, reading in the school library. Picture: Allan Hutchings (124074-692)
BOOKISH Craig Duncan, acting headteacher at Charles Dickens Infant School, Portsmouth with pupils, from left, Ruth Yirgalam, five, Finnley Buss-Jones, six, and Madison McDuff, five, reading in the school library. Picture: Allan Hutchings (124074-692)
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THEY are due to become one in the spring, but two Portsmouth schools have come out with completely opposite Ofsted reports.

Charles Dickens Infant School will federate with Charles Dickens Juniors in April. But the schools have had mixed fortunes of late.

While both schools were previously rated satisfactory, inspectors recently rated the infant school as good and the junior school as inadequate.

But the chairman of governors of the two schools has said he is confident their federation will improve standards in the future.

Trefor Jones, interim chairman of the temporary governing body for the new school, said: ‘The infant school has demonstrated it’s moving forward a long way and the junior school is starting on that. It’s the same team linking both schools. I would say that the junior school is where the infant school was about 18 months ago.

‘With the two combined, it’s going to be a pretty good school in two years time.

‘The new leadership at the juniors want to use the good things from the infants and take things from there on board into the juniors.’

Inspectors said that at the infant school teaching and learning has improved and behaviour is good.

Meanwhile at the juniors, standards are too low at the end of Year 6 as pupils do not make enough academic progress as they move through the school.

Mr Jones added that he’s pleased with the progress.

‘I’m absolutely delighted with the infant school and I’m not disappointed with the junior school because it is where we knew it was,’ he said.

‘We knew where it was three or four months ago and it’s significantly better than it was then.

‘We are seeing the green shoots of recovery. We aren’t there yet as it’s a slow process, but at least we are seeing progress. That’s the key thing. We want to say to parents not to worry.

‘We are working on it and the children will have a more cohesive education from April on.

‘It will be one school, one vision, one struggle and one set of policies.’

Mr Jones said he believes the federation will succeed.

‘We will have one whole team with everybody pulling together and the children don’t notice the difference between the end of July and the beginning of September.

‘Where 12 months ago they were two separate schools, there is a very close link between the schools right now, even before amalgamation.

‘We are working together right now. We want to hit the ground running.’