Wisbech primary school taken out of special measures as OfSTED praises head’s ‘clear direction’

A WISBECH primary school has been taken out of special measures after Government inspectors agreed it had improved considerably.

Orchards C of E Primary School is now said by OfSTED inspectors to have “several good features and teachers provide good quality care for all pupils including those with a range of complex needs.”

Head teacher Helen Williams and her deputy were said to have set “a very clear direction for the school and have a good understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.”

The school was placed in special measures in December 2009 after OfSTED concluded pupils neither had an acceptable standard of education nor a coherent strategy to teach them.

Ms Williams, who had only just taken over, is credited with helping the turnaround of the school’s fortunes.

Among the improvements noted on OfSTED’s recent inspection was a curriculum “which increasingly enthuses pupils”. Leadership at the school was now “decisive and effective”.

Nearly 400 pupils from 3-11 attend the school with a third of pupils now coming from minority ethnic backgrounds- most of whom speak English as an additional language.

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“This proportion has increased since the last inspection and is high,” the inspectors noted.

Nearly a third of pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities, again which is above average.

“The proportion of pupils with a statement of special educational needs is above average,” said the report.

The inspectors have asked the school to raise attainment further in English and maths and to improve the teaching of English to those who speak it as an additional language.

Parents and carers will also be tackled to help reduce further what inspectors say is “persistent absence” and this must include avoiding holidays in term time and explaining the need for a prompt return to school after illness.