The headteacher of an Aylesbury school which has been placed in special measures by Ofsted – having previously been rated outstanding – has accused the watchdog of ‘moving the goalposts’.
A report published on Tuesday described Bedgrove Junior School as ‘inadequate’, with ‘occasional incidents of racist behaviour’ occurring and ‘widespread underachievement’ noted by Ofsted.
The school, which has 473 pupils, said it is ‘extremely disappointed’ with the inspection result and it is already acting on recommendations with Bucks County Council’s help.
In its last inspection by the watchdog in 2010, the school was rated ‘outstanding’, the highest grade possible, and acting head Donna Skinner said: “Ofsted have moved the goalposts and the expectations and requirements in place when we were last inspected are different.
“Although we had identified potential issues this time last year and put in place measures that were showing improvement, they hadn’t been in place for a long enough period to affect Ofsted’s judgement.”
The report says ‘a few pupils occasionally behave in a racist way’ and that parents are not always told about such incidents.
However, Mrs Skinner said parents are contacted when specific issues arise.
She said: “The term ‘racist incident’ has a wide ranging meaning.
“Here at Bedgrove, it’s more likely to refer to a comment made by a child using a word of which they don’t know the meaning.
“More often than not once the child understands why the word can’t be used they do not use it again.”
Among the other concerns raised by Ofsted were:
> Pupils’ progress is patchy and not good enough.
> Teaching fails to meet the needs of a significant number of pupils.
> Marking does not tell pupils clearly enough what they need to do to improve.
> Leaders and managers have been too slow in recognising and tackling underachievement.
Mrs Skinner said steps are being taken to improve teaching standards.
“Over the past year we have drawn in professional support and training for teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning, which is working well,” she said.
“One of these improvements is the collective planning culture we’ve developed in which good practice and good ideas are shared by staff, which benefits the whole school.”
The school says other measures that have been brought in have been making classroom monitoring more effective, providing extra small group support for children who are not making good progress and helping children be ‘active learners’.
A meeting has been arranged for today (October 9) to tell parents about the report and answer their questions.