Victory not on cards just yet for primary given poor Ofsted

Portsmouth schools are on the up, says Ofsted

Report finds that more schools get top Ofsted marks

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A PRIMARY school formed by the combination of two schools rated good by Ofsted has been given a notice to improve.

The Victory Primary in Paulsgrove was launched in September 2010 – when Westfield Juniors and Saxon Shore Infants merged as an all-through school.

But its first Ofsted inspection, which recognised improved teaching and pupil attendance, a positive ethos and good early years provision, has placed the school in the lowest ranking.

Pete Sykes, who was appointed executive headteacher in 2005 when the decision was first made to merge the schools within two to three years, admitted Ofsted came at a bad time.

Even the inspectors noted ‘a great deal of turbulence in the first year of the new school, which resulted in significant underachievement in English and maths’.

Mr Sykes said: ‘There were lots of positives in the report but unfortunately Ofsted could only look at last year’s results, which were not our best.

‘Moving school last year was both time consuming and distracting – it’s not an excuse, it’s a fact of life.

‘Most people had to reapply for their jobs and it was logistically difficult as there was some staff turnover.

‘As a result of all that, concentration on providing the best quality of education for the children was not quite at the forefront.

‘The inspectors didn’t see any unsatisfactory teaching and they saw many aspects of the school that were good, but pupil attainment was not good enough.’

He added: ‘From my point of view, this academic year will show the impact we are making.’

Mr Sykes’ concerns about the building delays are understandable when you consider he was promised a new school by 2008.

A succession of setbacks with the funding were so frequent at one point he believed there would be no new school – and pupils would continue to attend the dilapidated Westfield and Saxon Shore sites.

But now the building works are out of the way, the school is re-focusing on driving up results.

Measures that have been put in place range, from setting learning targets in each lesson to rigorous monitoring of individual pupils.

Mr Sykes said: ‘We recognised where we were with results last year, and we’ve put an awful lot in place.

‘We’re expecting our next full Ofsted by January 2013. By then I’m confident we will be in a different place – we’re aiming for good.

‘There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be stronger as a primary.’

Inspectors praised the school’s pastoral care and highlighted a successful breakfast club that was open to pupils as well as parents.

They wrote: ‘The school has a secure overview of its strengths and weaknesses and the leadership has demonstrated sufficient improvement to show a satisfactory capacity to sustain this and develop further.’

Westfield Juniors, where Mr Sykes was head from 2003 to 2005, was rated good in 2005, and Saxon Shore Infants was given good in 2006.