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Wisbech St Mary Church of England Academy 'requires improvement' says Ofsted

A Fenland village school has been rated as 'requires improvement' by government inspectors who found its teaching quality was "too variable".

Wisbech St Mary Church of England Academy was inspected at the beginning of July - almost at the end of headteacher Jaynie Lynch's first year in charge.

Ofsted inspectors recognised the work she has done since being appointed last September and said in their report: "The new headteacher has set high expectations. She leads the school with passion and determination. She has empowered leaders and rapid improvement is being made."

Wisbech St Mary School became part of the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust in 2016.
Wisbech St Mary School became part of the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust in 2016.

As a result the effectiveness of leadership and management of the 183- pupil school was rated 'good' as was the early years provision and the personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils.

However, the inspectors lead by Steve Mellors, found the quality of teaching, learning and assessment too variable, particularly at Key Stage 2 and despite the fact pupils are starting to make better progress "the legacy of weaker teaching has left significant gaps in their knowledge and understanding", meaning there is a need for improvement.

Pupils outcomes also require improvement with their attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 in reading writing and maths at the end of 2018 were all "well below the national average".

As a result the overall rating for the school was "requires improvement".

The inspectors found not all teachers have high enough expectations of what pupils can achieve, which limits their progress. Some teachers also do not provide enough opportunities to improve pupils’ subject-specific vocabulary.

"This means that pupils do not have the language skills to explain their thinking," said the report.

Similarly teachers do not build successfully on pupils' early reading skills and older pupils do not read widely to "develop their fluency and enjoyment of reading".

However, the inspectors found "a nurturing environment supports pupils’ good behaviour and positive attitudes to learning".

And also that "children make a good start to their education in the newly extended early years provision". While "leaders are developing an exciting curriculum".

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