Another school in special measures

St Joseph's catholic school, Moorthorpe. One of a number of catholic schools currently in talks with the Diocese of Leeds regarding converting to academies. Picture shows St Joseph's church in the background.'h7419c201
St Joseph's catholic school, Moorthorpe. One of a number of catholic schools currently in talks with the Diocese of Leeds regarding converting to academies. Picture shows St Joseph's church in the background.'h7419c201

ANOTHER school in the Express area has been placed into special measures after its teaching was deemed ‘inadequate’.

Education watchdog Ofsted gave St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Barnsley Road, South Elmsall, the lowest grade possible for its effectiveness as a school.

This comes after neighbouring Moorthorpe Primary School, on Regent Street, was also placed in special measures in September after it was found that children’s learning regressed and it failed to provide an acceptable standard of education.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett has placed the blame firmly at the government for taking away much-needed money and resources from the area.

He said: “Every child deserves the best start in life and money taken away from schools is not ensuring this happens.”

St Joseph’s Primary School was inspected in February. A report by inspector Alan Lemon gave the school an ‘inadequate’ rating for quality of teaching, achievement of pupils and its leadership and management.

He said leaders failed to embed ambition in pupils and teachers’ expectations varied, which often led to unchallenging work.

Mr Lemon said the majority of parents and carers believed their children were making good progress but this was not the case.

He said: “Teaching overall is inadequate as it has not succeeded in raising pupils’ achievement or ensuring they make adequate progress by the end of key stage two.”

The early years foundation stage was rated good.

Headteacher Catherine Murphy said: “The senior leadership team have rigorous plans in place to secure rapid improvement for the pupils in our care.

“A well-attended parents meeting took place at the school on Wednesday last week to explain the next steps. We thank the parents for their continued support.”

Coun Laurie Harrison, leader of South Kirkby and Moorthorpe Town Council said the St Joseph’s inspection was disappointing.

He said: “It’s got to be put right as quickly as possible. The children deserve the best and anything less is just not acceptable.

“But I am sure measures will be put in place to rectify this as soon as possible.”

Sue Johnson, Wakefield Council’s service director for schools and lifelong learning, said: “We are obviously disappointed with the findings of the Ofsted report for St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Moorthorpe.

“The council is working very closely with the governors and staff at the school and we are all determined to make sure that the pupils receive a high standard of education.”

Mr Trickett said that being placed into special measures was the best way to make sure schools get the support they need but said it should not have to get to that stage in the first place.

He said: “Instead of taking money away from schools the government should be investing in children and their education. They are the next generation and they should be nurtured.”

Moorthorpe Primary School was placed in special measures last year. Since then, it has made progress.

A new interim headteacher started at the end of September and a follow-up Ofsted inspection on March 20-21 showed improvement. 

Inspector John Rutherford said pupils had significantly improved their writing skills and there was more consistency in teaching due to changes in staffing.

He said there was still a significant gap between attainment in writing and in reading, and mathematics.

Headteacher Ed Cottle said he hoped the school would be out of special measures by the end of the year.

He said: “The staff, pupils, parents and governing body of the school are delighted at the very swift and rapid progress the school has made.

“Teaching and learning throughout the school is now judged as good and there are no instances of inadequate teaching.”

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