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'Happy' school does not give value for money

GOVERNMENT inspectors have criticised an Accrington primary school as having "serious weaknesses''.

GOVERNMENT inspectors have criticised an Accrington primary school as having "serious weaknesses''.

Their report on St John's with St Augustine's C of E School says the quality of teaching is "inconsistent and unsatisfactory overall'' and it does not give value for money.

The Maudsley Street school is, however, praised for its relationship with the church, its "caring Christian community" and building a happy and secure environment for pupils.

The inspectors, who visited the school in early November, say: "The headteacher and all staff are fully committed to providing effective care, support and guidance for pupils, resulting in a school that is orderly, secure, harmonious and happy. However, unsatisfactory progress and achievement throughout the school means that the standards attained by pupils in Years 2 and 6 are not as good as they should be.

"The leadership of the school has not been sufficiently rigorous in taking appropriate action to improve standards. Pupils are not receiving a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum and school effectiveness is therefore unsatisfactory. The school provides unsatisfactory value for money.''

The school, with 224 pupils, is led by headteacher Mr Geoff Garlick. The report shows that in the core areas of English, maths and science, results in national tests are well below average when compared with all other schools and with similar schools.

In English the results were in the bottom five per cent. Targets set this year in English and maths were not achieved - and Year Six pupils were unlikely to hit their targets next year.

The quality of teaching is labelled unsatisfactory in all but the reception year. The inspectors say some teachers are "less secure" about the national literacy strategy and the quality of marking of pupils' work is singled out for criticism.

The leadership of Mr Garlick and his senior staff is criticised for "not providing a sufficiently clear and focused educational direction''. And the governors are rapped for not being clear about issues for school improvement and having a "limited impact on shaping the direction of the school."

But the report says the pupils are well-behaved, respect others and enjoy attending the school. Teachers value all pupils and manage them "within the climate of care and respect created by the headteacher.''

In a statement issued before the school closed for the Christmas break, Mr Garlick quoted some parts of the report favourable to the school and his staff, particularly a comment that commends everyone for "the way in which the school is distinctive as a church school."

He concluded: "The school is very pleased with these very positive comments."


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