Teachers criticised for ‘holding pupils back’ after latest Ofsted inspection



A primary school’s teachers have been criticised for ‘serious weaknesses’ and ‘holding pupils back’ by Ofsted inspectors.

The Thomas Hickman School was graded as ‘inadequate’, and inspectors said teachers were preventing youngsters from progressing in English, science and maths because of the ‘low expectation of handwriting and presentation’.

Inspectors said that pupils at the Belgrave Road school in Aylesbury were not being challenged enough, and the school’s plans for improvement are ‘not clear enough to help teachers know exactly what actions they need to take.’

In its last inspection two years ago, the school was graded as ‘satisfactory’ and will now be working with the Buckinghamshire Learning Trust in following a robust development plan to make improvements.

A consultant headteacher with a proven track record in helping schools achieve their goals rapidly is being drafted in to support acting headteacher Helen Emmett.

Ms Emmett refused to speak directly to the Bucks Herald, but said in a statement via Bucks County Council: “The level of support from staff, parents and governors has been incredible and I’m looking forward to working with the new consultant head in helping our pupils achieve their very best in a school community that supports and inspires them.”

Despite the concerns raised, Ofsted inspectors did also highlight the school’s strengths, including the behaviour of the pupils which was rated ‘good’.

The report said: “Pupils’ behaviour has improved greatly over the past three years due to the consistent and clear approach that is adopted by all staff.

“Pupils have a good understand of different cultures and beliefs and show consideration and care for each other.

“There is a high priority on ensuring the safety of all pupils and this is reflected in the pupils’ view that they feel safe and secure in school.”

Chair of governors Alan Sherwell said: “Although the report was disappointing, every school has room for improvement and we were already planning significant changes to the way we do things.

“The report has enabled us to focus and refine our plans with excellent help and support from the Bucks Learning Trust.

“As a governing body, we’re committed to supporting the acting headteacher and her leadership in achieving these aims and ensuring that our pupils get the very best from their time here at Thomas Hickman.”




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