Action plan ‘fit for purpose’ at Mexborough School

Headteacher John Scatchard talks to Labour Leader MP Ed Miliband about the new Montagu School, Mexborough. Picture: Andrew Roe
Headteacher John Scatchard talks to Labour Leader MP Ed Miliband about the new Montagu School, Mexborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

A failing primary school is making “reasonable progress” six months after it was placed into special measures, a new report has shown.

Montagu Primary School in Mexborough was given the lowest rating of “inadequate” in three out of four categories by Ofsted in October last year, with teaching, pupil achievement and school leadership all coming under fierce criticism.

Inspectors revisited the school in March and ruled that an action plan was “fit for purpose” but there is still more work to be done before it can be taken out of special measures.

Inspector Gina White said pupils’ progress in reading is improving but progress in writing and mathematics is “more inconsistent.”

Three specialist education leaders have helped raise teaching standards since they started working alongside staff in January.

Insp White said: “Intensive support and training is helping teachers to develop their practise confidently and expectations are rising.”

But she added pupils’ progress slows when “teachers do not check on pupils’ learning sufficiently throughout lessons.”

The marking policy was also criticised as being “inconsistently applied” and students are unclear about how to respond to comments.

Attendance is improving steadily, however pupils “lost interest” in several lessons when the work became laboured.

Former headteacher John Scatchard stepped down in December last year, only two years after officially opening the school alongside Labour leader Ed Miliband.

It is now under the leadership of Judith Astwood, who is supported by an executive headteacher from a school in Wakefield, which is rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted.

The school leadership was praised for ensuring most action plans are up to date. Teachers’ targets are also suitably linked to pupils’ progress.

Insp White said the number of governors has been reduced and a school improvement committee has been appointed.

Doncaster Council was praised for developing an action plan but also criticised for “not keeping a close enough eye on progress.”

The school is set to become an academy within the next few months and is looking to appoint a permanent head teacher by September.

Nobody from the school was available for comment.

Eleanor Brazil, director of the children and young people’s service at Doncaster Council, said: “We are pleased that Ofsted has recognised that pupils’ progress overall is starting to improve and some improvements in teaching practice.

“We are challenging the school and have worked already to strengthen leadership and governance as well as providing useful advice and support on staffing, target setting and attendance. It is great to hear Ofsted has noted improvements in attendance and that pupils are well supervised and safe.”