Fareham school celebrating improvement in Ofsted inspection assessment

Wallisdean Junior head Natasha Farrell with pupils celebrating their good Ofsted report.

Wallisdean Junior head Natasha Farrell with pupils celebrating their good Ofsted report.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

IT IS the seal of approval they were hoping for.

Staff and pupils at Wallisdean Junior School in Fareham are celebrating after Ofsted inspectors rated it as good, an improvement from the satisfactory rating last time around.

Head teacher Natasha Farrell believes new initiatives that were taking shape at the last inspection have come to fruition.

The school had a visit from Ofsted in December. Inspectors praised teaching, stating that it was good, occasionally outstanding and that the high quality marking and assessment and reference to personal targets ensured pupils were clear about their progress and what they need to improve.

They rated the behaviour and safety of pupils at the school as outstanding.

The Ofsted report said that to achieve outstanding the school in Wallisdean Avenue needed to give pupils more opportunity to use their maths skills in real-life situations in a wide range of subjects and increase the pace of learning and the impact of independent learning activities.

Since Mrs Farrell took over two years ago she said the school had tried to give the pupils more feedback and create an ethos where pupils “believe learning should be a challenge” and “accept that challenge themselves to grow and improve”.

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Pupils’ work is marked using a colour coding system that highlights and comments on good work and things that need to improve.

Teachers also speak to pupils more to give feedback and have discussion either one-to-one, in small groups or the whole class.

This has been possible because of the school’s learning support assistants, who either ensure pupils understand what they have done well or could improve on or take the rest of the class while the teacher is giving feedback.

“It’s about helping them to recognise what’s good in their work, what they’re doing really well, being quite specific about that and what it is they need to do and not overwhelming them with too much information,” said Mrs Farrell.

In terms of changing the ethos, she said it was about subtle changes to the teachers’ language to always praise effort.

“It hadn’t had long enough to impact so it’s really good they [inspectors] have come back,” said Mrs Farrell.

“I’m absolutely delighted and it just highlights the work we have been doing and gives us a strong platform on which to build.”

She said she hoped the school could reach outstanding in the next couple of years.

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