AN INFANT school has plummeted from an excellent rating four years ago to being placed in the worst category by government inspectors.
Front Lawn Infants in Leigh Park, which boasted a ‘good with outstanding features’ Ofsted in 2008, is now in special measures for ‘failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education’.
Teaching, pupils’ achievement, leadership and management were all deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ by inspectors who visited the school in January.
Even children in the early years foundation stage – previously graded ‘outstanding’ – were found not to be achieving as well as they should.
The Ofsted is a damning indictment of a school that had won successive top reports from Ofsted as far back as 2004, when it was led by Brenda Johnson who retired last April after 21 years in the job.
It read: ‘For too long there has been a lack of aspiration for pupils to attain the levels they achieved at the time of the previous inspection.
‘As a result, attainment has been on a steady decline with, until recently, little being done to halt this trend.
‘Currently, pupils’ attainment is low and not improving rapidly enough in writing and mathematics.’
Inspectors noted support from Hampshire County Council from October that was beginning to address poor teaching, and that the school had made progress in reading skills and good attendance.
But they said a lack of monitoring and poor evaluation of pupils’ progress with teachers too often not correcting mistakes was hampering attainment.
Despite the poor Ofsted report, the chairman of governors Rod Funnell has written to parents to say he was optimistic following the appointment of acting head Joanna Batstone who had been ‘judged by Ofsted to have achieved rapid improvement in another school’.
He wrote: ‘All of those involved in the school are making very good use of the external support that is now in the school.
‘We are all determined to work hard together, to do whatever is needed to ensure the necessary improvements are completed as soon as possible.’
Following Mrs Johnson’s departure, deputy head Rebecca Tolfree took over as acting head, with two successive executive heads – Rebecca Kingsland and now Mrs Batstone, who was appointed acting head on March 5.