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Head critical of Great Yarmouth infant school Ofsted

PUBLISHED: 12:22 11 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:22 11 January 2014

Headteacher Alison Hopley  Picture: James Bass

Headteacher Alison Hopley Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic© 2008

The headteacher of an Ofsted-criticised infant school says she accepts the evaluation but will do all she can to quickly shake off an unwelcome “requires improvement” tag.

Alderman Swindell Infant School in Great Yarmouth, considered “outstanding” by a previous inspector in 2008, did not fare so well under the new fault-finding regime which has seen many schools across Norfolk down-graded.

The latest report picks at pupils for their slow progress and at teachers for their target-setting and marking.

It says: “The quality of teaching has not been maintained since the previous inspection. Teachers do not use accurate information about pupils’ attainment when planning lessons. Consequently tasks are not always at an appropriate level to meet the different needs or abilities of pupils.”

On the plus side however the headteacher Alison Hopley knows the 230-pupil school well and has accurately developed the priorities for development.

Elsewhere it is noted that the school has a “strong sense of community” and that pupils behave well, work hard and have positive attitudes towards learning.

Miss Hopley, said she was disappointed with the judgement - effectively the old “satisfactory” - but stressed there were no major weaknesses at the school.

She said it was as if the school had been through a CT scanner and had every part of it probed.

“I take fair criticism,” she said. “But I know in my heart that we are a good school. I am the sort of person who looks at the positive in everything. There is no place for complacency in children’s education. I am not interested in defending anything that can be improved. If someone can point out things we can do even better then we will do them even better. We are passionate about education and committed to this community.

“It is a very different regime that is in place to the one that was in place in 2008 when we were last inspected, so that is where we are - like so many other schools.

“When you look at the criteria they inspect the school against I can only say that they did it by the book and that it was fair process. The results at the end are at or above the national average and the behaviour at the school is really good. The demands of data analysis and progress tracking are very very high and we are addressing that. We are not going to be in “requires improvement” for long.”

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