Padnell Juniors School in Cowplain takes the plunge to bottom rating


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A SCHOOL that saw its exam results drop from above to below average in a year has been placed in the worst category by Ofsted inspectors.

Padnell Juniors in Cowplain was rated satisfactory in 2009 but is now in special measures. This means the government will intervene if improvements don’t happen fast.

It is the third school across The News area that has fallen into the bottom rating since tougher Ofsted guidelines were introduced in January.

Inspectors rated every area of Padnell, apart from behaviour, as inadequate, and raised concerns about boys lagging behind, particularly in writing.

Almost 30 per cent of boys now in their final year are not expected to make the expected progress in writing, the report noted.

Ofsted put the spotlight on last year’s Key Stage 2 results – or Sats – where 63 per cent of 11-year-olds passed with good grades in English and maths – compared with 83 per cent in 2010.

And they claimed improvements to teaching had not been sufficient to boost attainment.

Sandra Lawlor, who has been headteacher at Padnell for eight years, admitted she was disappointed with the report.

Her school has never before been given an overall inadequate score.

But she insisted a school improvement plan which was put in place in September was already taking effect.

New measures include external teacher training, a skills-based curriculum to better engage the boys and more rigorous pupil monitoring.

Mrs Lawlor said: ‘We’re disappointed with the outcome but staff here are determined and are working very hard.

‘We’re confident we can turn this school around.

‘Our results this summer will be better than last year’s.

‘There’s an improving trend.’

She added that she was pleased inspectors applauded ‘warm relationships’, average and improving pupil attendance, mostly good behaviour and a curriculum that promotes pupils’ moral, social and cultural development.