Damning report into “inadequate” primary school in Mexborough

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 has been placed into special measures after a damning Ofsted inspection ruled it was “inadequate.”

Montagu Primary School in Mexborough was given the lowest rating of “inadequate” in three out of four categories, including teaching, pupil achievement and school leadership.

Ofsted inspector Declan McCauley criticised the school’s ‘weak teaching” and raised concerns about pupils’ achievement being “well below what they are capable of.”

This comes just two years after it was officially opened by Labour leader Ed Miliband who then said he was “very impressed” with the school.

A spokesman for the Doncaster North MP said this week: “It’s disappointing news for staff, parents and pupils at the school.”

Mexborough councillor Tracey-Leyland Jepson added: “I am quite shocked because I always thought it was an achieving school.”

Meanwhile, headteacher John Scatchard has vowed to make swift improvements at the school.

He said: “This is a disappointing result for all but we are determined to make swift improvements to improve outcomes for our pupils. We are putting together an action plan to address the key areas highlighted by Ofsted.

“As part of the inspection Ofsted surveyed 70 of our parents and it is encouraging that 91 per cent of those responding stated that they would recommend the school to others.”

Watchdogs visited the Park Road school on October 8 and 9, giving the school an overall rating of “inadequate”, two years after it was classed as “satisfactory.” The report described the curriculum as “poorly designed” and that it “does not meet the needs of pupils.”

Teachers were criticised for failing to plan lessons and for having low expectations of what pupils can achieve.

Some pupils are described as “disruptive” and behaviour in general “requires improvement.”

The report also said governors “Do not hold school leaders to account.” Mr McCauley said: “The headteacher and members of the senior leadership team have an over generous view of the school’s performance so they have not challenged underachievement.

“Since the last inspection, the actions that have been taken by leaders and governors have been ineffective. Consequently, the quality of teaching is too weak and pupils’ achievement is well below what they are capable of.”

Alongside the criticisms, inspectors also identified “good progress” in nursery and reception classes, while pupils say they enjoy school.

Mr McCauley concludes that the school must rapidly improve teaching in reading, writing and maths for all pupils in Year 1 to 6.

Improvements to school leadership and a reduction in pupil absences must also be undertaken.

Jo Moxon, assistant director of the children and young people’s service, said: “Doncaster Council is already working with the governors and staff to improve the areas identified by Ofsted as needing improvement. Our aim is to move the school to a good Ofsted judgement as quickly as possible.”

The school was opened in April 2011 following the amalgamation of Park Road Infant School and Montagu Junior School.

Since then it has won a number of awards including, the Leading Parent Partnership Award and Charter Mark for Inclusion and Basic Skills Quality Mark.