School has ‘serious weaknesses’, say inspectors

BAD REPORT: Dene House Primary School, Peterlee.
BAD REPORT: Dene House Primary School, Peterlee.

A SCHOOL has been given a bad report following a visit by Ofsted inspectors.

Dene House Primary School, Peterlee, which was previously rated good by the education watchdogs, has failed to make the grade.

Inspectors visited the Manor Way school last month and said although the behaviour and safety of pupils is good, several areas require improvement and the school is inadequate overall because of poor achievement.

In their report, inspectors said: “This is a school that has serious weaknesses. Since the previous inspection, pupils’ achievement has declined and is inadequate.

“Attainment in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Year 2 has been on a declining trend and in 2014 was very low. Although attainment at the end of Year 6 in 2014 improved, it remained significantly below average in writing and mathematics.”

The inspectors said disadvantaged pupils at the East Durham school underachieve and wide gaps exist in the attainment of these pupils compared to others.

They said following the previous inspection, the quality of teaching has declined, partly due to staffing turbulence, and this weak teaching has resulted in pupils’ underachievement.

And, although teaching has now improved, it is not consistently good.

However, the watchdogs said the school has a number of strengths, including senior leaders and governors having put rigorous systems in place to check school work.

The report said: “They have an accurate picture of the school’s strengths and what needs to improve.

“The school is improving at an increasingly good rate.

“Weak teaching has been tackled promptly and, as a result, teaching has, and continues to, improve. Governors have the skills and knowledge to hold the school to account.

“Pupils are friendly and welcoming, co-operate well in the classroom and play together sensibly. Poor behaviour is rare.

“Effective care and support ensures that pupils feel safe and are kept safe. Pupils who experience difficulties are helped to overcome them. Pupils’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural development is promoted well.”

To improve further, the school needs to improve the quality of teaching in all key stages, so that it is at least consistently good, improve the effectiveness of leadership and management and an external review of the school’s use of the pupil premium should be undertaken.