The Headteacher of St Peter's School responds to reporting of the recent Ofsted report

Written by Caroline Spindlow on .

I want, please, to respond to some of the reporting last week (not Marlborough News Online's) following the Ofsted report on St Peter’s Junior School.

There are three key messages I would like to elaborate on:
•    St Peter’s can achieve high results as evidenced by last year’s Y6 achievement of the most able in gaining more Level 6’s than any other local primary school and by Dr Hazlewood’s endorsement of the school.
•    Teachers at the school are now all of a high calibre.
•    Governors and leaders are committed to continue the work started to ensure that the school provides an outstanding education for all our wonderful pupils.

The governors and the leadership team of St Peter’s Church of England Voluntary Controlled Junior School are very proud to serve our community in Marlborough.  We attract families from professional families through to more disadvantaged families and have a specialist Resource Base for pupils with complex Special educational needs and disabilities.  We believe we are a very special school and provide a unique education for all that come here.  The needs and success of our pupils are at the very heart of everything we do at the school and we are delighted that Ofsted recognised that: “The behaviour of pupils is good. Pupils want to learn.”

Our aim and vision reflect that we expect staff and pupils alike to aim high and achieve success.  And we do achieve success; last year St Peter’s had more (both in number and percentage) pupils achieve the highest level 6 SATs grade than any other primary school in Marlborough.   This is a tremendous achievement for both the pupils and their teachers.  And our ambition remains to give an outstanding education for all our children.

Our children are also noted by Dr Patrick Hazlewood, the St John’s Academy headteacher who is also happy to endorse St Peter’s:
“In recent years it has been particularly noted that pupils joining St John’s from St Peter’s in year 7 have made a very rapid adjustment to life in the secondary school. Their all -round attitude is very often excellent and they adapt very quickly. More impressively there is no discernible difference in academic attainment and prowess compared to the other children who come from 13 feeder primaries and 15+ other primary schools. All in all St Peter’s children progress as fast and in line with others, which is a tribute to the high quality of their primary education”.

Parents have been very supportive of the school with an impressive percentage showing Ofsted how good they think the school is by using Ofsted’s Parentview.  Since the report many parents have shared how they did not feel that the report reflects their experience of the school and how happy they are with us.  “I would just like to let you know I’m really sorry it wasn’t a better outcome. I think the whole school has put so much effort in these past two years you really deserve a 'Good'. If Ofsted based their findings on how happy children and parents are with a school I’m sure you would have achieved it.”
A complication for St Peter’s is that the Infant and Junior school have had discrepancies in their assessment.  It has been very challenging for St Peter’s to show progress being maintained from the Infant baseline.  This is particularly true for the most able pupils.  This is an area that both the head teachers have focused on and with the amalgamation of the schools agreed for the new school will soon no longer be an issue.

Governors and the school have worked hard to ensure that all of our teachers are now of a high calibre.  The current teaching team, of teachers and teaching assistants, are highly professional and passionate and highly committed in achieving academic success for our pupils.

So whilst the Ofsted report says “Requires Improvement” – they did also make it clear that the school had come a long way in the last two years and were certain that we had the capacity to improve.  This was instantly recognised by HMI (Her Majesties Inspectors) who rang to congratulate the school on the improvement and say that they were no longer monitoring the school and by Carolyn Godfrey, Corporate Director of Wiltshire Council who wrote to congratulate the school on achieving higher grades in spite of the challenges:   “Leading a successful school continues to be an ever increasing challenge particular for one that has a large number of pupil premium pupils and it is one that you and your team are responding to in the best interests of the children.”

It would be a great shame if parents were put off coming and seeing St Peter’s in action due to the negative press reports especially when Ofsted says “Currently, more pupils are making good progress and are on track to attain above the national average.” With our track record of success from last year’s pupils’ high Level 6 results, we are still a great choice for education locally.  

Caroline Spindlow
Headteacher, St  Peter's School, Marlborough