Infant school 'is improving rapidly'

October 04 2018

A FISHPONDS school instructed to improve by Ofsted has received welcome news - standards are now on the up.

Mike McNama, head of Chester Park Infant School, has been told that improvements have been "rapid", putting the school in a strong position to achieve a good rating at the next full inspection.

It follows an Ofsted report back in February 2017 in which the school required improvement in five out of six categories.

In the latest monitoring inspection report, government inspector Lorna Brackstone said the school has made good progress.

"Senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement," her report stated.

Ms Brackstone said Mr McNama and other leaders at the school were "ambitious and determined to drive and sustain improvements".

She said: "The pace of improvement is rapid."

The report told Mr McNama he had taken effective action to improve the weaknesses in teaching, leading to greater consistency and higher expectations.

According to the document, governors now have a greater understanding of the school's needs, and pupils behave well, listen carefully and work well with each other.

The report praised the city council for providing "very high quality" support, which is helping the school improve.

The report told Mr McNama that he should now ensure the refurbished school includes a "fit-for-purpose" outdoor area for the youngest pupils and to improve the number of boys and girls in Year 1 reaching required standards in phonics.

Mr McNama is now the permanent head of both the infant and junior schools, which became a federation at the start of the new academic year.

He paid tribute to the staff who paved the way for him when he took over the reins, initially on an acting basis, in March.

"The report reflects the hard work that the school has put in following the previous Ofsted," said Mr McNama. "I was able to build on the strong work to move the school forward, which was carried out by Madeleine Orr, as interim head, and Emma Noble, as acting deputy.

"One of the key things the report referred to was the way the staff all worked together to support the children. I had already worked in the juniors, so I knew a lot of things about the infant school, but it wasn't until I actually worked there that I saw the passion and drive staff have - they all want to make a big difference to the children."

Mr McNama said it was likely the school would have full Ofsted inspection later this year.

He added: "The children and families we work with are really great and are behind us. The learning atmosphere around the school is fantastic.

"I can't make predictions about getting a good rating but we are working very hard to make sure that's the case. There are a lot of people working in the right direction to be able to give the children what they deserve."