Date: 26/06/2008 Category: Learning and Achievement
Photo invite: Members of the media are welcome to visit the school on Friday, 27 June from 10.30am to 11.30am to take pictures. A range of initiatives to improve children’s learning at a Rochester primary school have been recognised by Ofsted inspectors, despite the school being given notice to improve. Warren Wood Community Primary School in Arethusa Road came out of special measures in March 2006, two years after its previous inspection. During this time steps have been taken to give children the skills they need when leaving the school, although more work is needed to raise achievements in basic literacy, numeracy, and information and communication technology (ICT) to give them a head start at secondary school. Major changes are already underway, including the redesign of the curriculum around topics and themes to make it more relevant and interesting for pupils and to increase creative links between subjects. This has boosted pupils’ enjoyment and engagement in learning, particularly in music lessons, Healthy Kidz clubs and the opportunities to work with artists and performers. The leadership team and governors now have a realistic view of how well the school is doing and where improvement is needed. At the heart of the developments is a strategic plan with a central focus of eliminating underachievement. Headteacher Peter Whistler recognises that more emphasis must be placed on learning and raising educational standards at the school. He said: “The Oftsed inspectors agreed that more work needs to be applied to core subjects of English mathematics and science to ensure students’ development at school. By adopting an appropriate pace, pupils should achieve successful goals. “An extensive amount of work has already gone into raising standards and I am confident the school is clearly focussed on accelerating progress and raising achievement and that when the inspection team return in six months further evidence of improvement will be available.” Inspectors visited the school on 13 and 14 May and found well-behaved children who were enthusiastic to learn. Pupils enjoy being in school, which several said was because teachers made lessons fun and interesting. A high percentage of pupils have learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The Evergreen Centre language unit caters for 32 pupils with speech and language or communication difficulties. Teaching and learning are improving and the Intensifying Support Programme sets realistic targets for pupils and teachers to achieve. Children with specific learning needs, such as problems with mathematics, are given intensive teaching in groups of three or four to help them understand the subject. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Les Wicks said: “I am confident the staff at Warren Wood school can build on the Ofsted inspector’s comments and recommendations to continue raising standards at the school. “There is a lot of positive work happening at the school which will go a long way towards improving our children’s future.” Medway Council’s Director of Children’s Services Rose Collinson said: “The foundations for success have been laid and the school’s leadership now needs to build on these to capitalise on pupils’ positive attitudes towards learning and accelerate improvement to sustain the momentum for change. “I am confident the headteacher and staff at Warren Wood have the focus and the determination to actively improve progress and standards at the school.” Ends: Warren Wood Community Primary School is in Arethusa Road, Rochester. It cares for 270 children aged three to 11. The headteacher is Peter Whistler.