Date: 04/01/2008 Category: Learning and Achievement
‘A satisfactory school where children develop positive attitudes to learning’ that was the conclusion from Ofsted inspectors when they visited Byron Primary School in Gillingham. Inspectors praised the headteacher, who supported by the staff and governors, has successfully developed a welcoming family atmosphere in which pupils from a wide range of backgrounds feel happy and well cared for. Headteacher James Fernie said: “I’m pleased with this result. Everyone involved with the school has worked incredibly hard to move things onwards and upwards.” The school in Byron Road, which caters for 491 pupils aged between four and 11 years, provides sound teaching enabling pupils to make satisfactory progress. Inspectors noted that ‘teaching staff understand that some children have different needs and are always there to offer support when you need them’. The school has recently developed systems to monitor pupils’ progress and consequently standards in the Year 6 tests have improved. Inspectors noted that boys outperform girls in maths but not in writing; raising the standards of boy’s writing and girls’ maths skills was a recommendation for improvement. Relationships throughout the school are very positive and behaviour is exemplary. Parents told Ofsted inspectors that their children settle in quickly and the teachers make learning fun. They see their children make progress within a short time. A parent summarised: “They’re a good bunch of pupils.” Lessons and activities are well organised and teachers have high expectations for pupils. Lessons are calm and orderly, and tasks are adjusted for pupils with learning difficulties. Pupils who join the school speaking little English make good progress in acquiring the English language. They also make satisfactory progress in other subjects. To improve further, teachers need to involve pupils more actively in discussions and use pupils’ work and assessments to set work to match their needs more closely. Medway Council’s Director of Children’s Services Rose Collinson said: “This is a positive result and a report that gives the school a sound base from which it can continue to grow.” Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Les Wicks said: “The report is encouraging and one I am sure the school is pleased with. It shows the way for the school to build upon its current success."