School improving – but still too many term time holidays

Sketch, the Frankie and Benny mascot visited Intake primary school to present pupils with �500 worth of books.  Picture: Marie Caley D3247MC
Sketch, the Frankie and Benny mascot visited Intake primary school to present pupils with �500 worth of books. Picture: Marie Caley D3247MC

Improvements at a Doncaster primary school are being hindered by pupils’ term time holidays, government inspectors claim.

Intake Primary School, on Sidney Road, was deemed to be in need of improvement after its last full inspection back in March.

But officials from education watchdog Ofsted returned in September and said it was satisfied with action being taken by officials including headteacher Helen Broad to improve standards – but raised concerns over the holidays issue.

The report said the school was working hard to improve attendance. However, attendance levels remained ‘stubbornly’ below the national average. But it added a number of parents continued to take their children out of school for extended holidays, which did not help the school address the issue and risks the introduction of gaps in children’s learning.

Government inspector Michael Reeves said: “Senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement identified.”

But he said the school now needed to take more action to:

n Increase consistency and raise expectations of teaching for its youngest pupils;

n Strengthen middle managers’ abilities to precisely evaluate strengths and weaknesses in their areas of responsibility;

n Increase the sharpness and regularity of governors’ checking of the school’s improvement priorities.

During his visit to the school, Mr Reeves was given a tour of the early years and Key Stage One classes and meetings were held with middle leaders, some teachers and teaching assistants.

A range of documents were scrutinised, including the school development plan, records relating to the monitoring of teaching, governing body minutes and records of pupils’ current progress.

The school has appointed teachers to fill vacancies that were present at the last inspection, and said it had secured a stable teaching staff with no temporary or supply teachers.

Praising Ms Broad’s efforts he said: “Your determined attitude to place pupils’ outcomes at the centre of all you do is paying dividends. As headteacher, you are creating a culture of continuous improvement, looking for best practice both within and beyond your own school. You have put in place a plan to address the areas for improvement in the previous inspection report.”

The school had a rising proportion of children who attained a good level of development in the early years classes. Standards further up the school had improved over the last year, moving close to national averages at the end of Key Stage One.

A similar picture is evident in Key Stage Two because pupils made more rapid progress, particularly in reading and writing.