School determined to improve after it was rated ‘Inadequate’

Head teacher Mark Thrower and pupils donating items to a food bank, showing the good work Oak Tree Primary School does in the community.
Head teacher Mark Thrower and pupils donating items to a food bank, showing the good work Oak Tree Primary School does in the community.

A school in Mansfield says it is determined to improve after a damning OFSTED report judged it in need of ‘special measures’.

Oak Tree Primary was branded ‘Inadequate’ by inspectors, which represented an alarming dip from its previous rating of ‘Good’.

The OFSTED report criticised the quality of teaching, learning and assessment at the school, and said that progress made by pupils was inconsistent.

Inspectors also slammed the school’s governors for “failing to provide effective support and challenge to the head teacher”. They were committed but lacked up-to-date knowledge and skills.

However, the school, which has almost 300 pupils, insists changes are already being made to tackle the problems highlighted.

The head, Mark Thrower, said: “The staff and governors are disappointed with this judgement. But with the recent support mechanisims we have put into place, we are all determined and committed to addressing the issues raised by OFSTED. This will ensure that the children receive a more challenging and rewarding education.”

Mr Thrower was backed by the chairman of the governing body, Dave French, who said: “The governors fully support Mr Thrower and the staff in their work.

“The work undertaken in the past few weeks and also since the inspection is already having a positive impact. We are confident that the school will quickly make improvements in the near future.”

The OFSTED report did pinpoint areas where the school’s performance was regarded as ‘Good’. These included the progress of children in the nursery and reception years and the care given to pupils with complex needs.

The report also said that pupils behave well and are kept safe, while their “spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good”.

However, it also demanded several improvements, focusing on two key areas -- improving the leadership and management of the school, and strengthening the quality of teaching, which was “too variable”.

When placed in ‘special measures’, schools receive regular inspections at short notice, and senior managers and teachers can be dismissed.