Headteacher admits ‘focus was lost’ at Takeley Primary School as damning Ofsted report is published


Ofsted - Credit: Archant

A headteacher has admitted that a school “lost focus” for a couple of years – leading to a damning Ofsted report.

Changes are “urgently” needed to the leadership and the quality of teaching at Takeley Primary School, in Little Canfield, ­according to the inspectors who visited in June.

It was revealed in the report that Takeley was “inadequate”, falling from “good” in 2011, and has been put into special measures.

Executive headteacher John Clements, who is headteacher at Hatfield Heath Primary School and was called in to help at the school after headteacher Mandy Line resigned last term, said that everyone associated with the school was disappointed by the findings.

He told the Broadcast: “Takeley has had a lot of change to deal with, for example the growth of the school and moving to new premises.

“That may have been partially responsible for the eye being taken off the ball and the focus being spread too widely.

“What we need to do is identify the talent that is in the school and actually build on it so the school moves forward rapidly and securely so we never end up here again.”

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Key findings of the visit were that “governors have not held senior leaders to account for the school’s declining performance” and in Years 1 to 4 pupils were making “inadequate progress in reading, writing and ­mathematics” because teachers do not expect enough from them.

“The report is clear on the ­quality of teaching and leadership,” Mr Clements said. “The quality of teaching and children’s learning is our prime focus.

“The team has come together and the team is determined. Change is taking place. We have changed class structure and we are looking at the curriculum to make it more focused in all areas.”

One mother, whose child has recently moved from reception to Year 1, was not surprised by the findings.

She did not want to be named but told the Broadcast: “I had an idea it would not be good but I did not think it would be that bad.

“I had problems when my daughter was in reception and I do not even know if I will keep her at this school.”

A grandparent of children at the school, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: “My grandchildren are doing very well at the school.

“It is not the teachers’ fault, it is the governors.”

Many other parents were shocked by the comments from inspectors.

Dan Milton, whose daughter attends the school, said: “I was really surprised by the report and to see that the school is going into special measures. I have never had any issues here with my daughter. I am interested to see how it develops and what does change.”

Lee Sagaran, who lives in Little Canfield, said: “My daughter has only just started in Year 1 so I am glad it happened last year because obviously they are going to be striving for change.”