Gorleston school placed on special measures

Steve DownesA Gorleston headteacher is promising a "fresh start" after his school was put in special measures by Ofsted, a few months after he took on the job.Steve Downes

A Gorleston headteacher is promising a "fresh start" after his school was put in special measures by Ofsted, a few months after he took on the job.

Peterhouse Primary, in Peterhouse Avenue, was given the dreaded tag by inspectors, who hit out at "significant shortcomings" in teaching and a failure to give pupils an "acceptable standard of education".

In a scathing report, they said attainment at age 11 in maths and English was "significantly below average".

They said teaching was "too often pitched at an inappropriate level", while pupils were not given "adequate academic guidance". Governors were accused of being "reluctant to challenge the school".

Inspectors said: "Pupils' books show that, in some cases, the teachers have low expectations, especially regarding the quality of pupils' written work.

"Pupils say they feel safe in school and are confident that issues that may concern them will be dealt with. However, the overall attendance of pupils in this academic year is low as too many pupils are persistently absent."

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Martin Scott, headteacher, said: "I joined the school in January and, together with my deputy and senior management team, have clear strategies in place to help the school progress.

"Although the inspectors' judgement is disappointing, it is what we had anticipated and we had already been working to address much of what is in the report."

Mr Scott said the plans "had not had time to fully take effect when Ofsted visited", but he was confident they were the "right plans to take the school forward".

He said: "I welcome the additional support and scrutiny that the school will now receive and believe this will help galvanise the progress we are already making."

Peterhouse Primary is the product of the recent amalgamation of Peterhouse First and Peterhouse Middle schools. In July, students and staff will move into newly-refurbished buildings.

Mr Scott said: "We move to our transformed building in July and I am hopeful that this can be a fresh start for the school. We have already strengthened our curriculum by bringing in topic-based learning and I know our pupils really enjoy this way of working.

"We will need the ongoing support of staff, parents, pupils and governors to make sure our school is a success and I am sure that together we can help to bring about the necessary improvements."

He said the school had "several strengths on which to build", including staff who were "committed to the children and will go the extra-mile to support their well-being", a "cohesive school community" and "very supportive parents".

Peterhouse Primary's plight means there are four Norfolk schools in special measures. The others are The King George VI School at Great Bircham, The Park High at King's Lynn and Aslacton Primary.

To read the report in full, visit www.ofsted.gov.uk.