Banbury area academy trust helps bring Brackley primary school out of special measures after latest Ofsted inspection

Southfields Primary in Brackley has been upgraded from inadequate to requires improvement by Ofsted inspectors.

By Matt Elofson
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 9:04 pm
Southfields Primary in Brackley has been upgraded from inadequate to requires improvement by Ofsted inspectors. It has been helped by the Warriner Multi Academy Trust to bring it out special measures. (photo from the trust)
Southfields Primary in Brackley has been upgraded from inadequate to requires improvement by Ofsted inspectors. It has been helped by the Warriner Multi Academy Trust to bring it out special measures. (photo from the trust)

Ofsted inspectors rated Southfields Primary 'Good' in leadership and management and 'Good' in behaviour and attitudes. The inspectors also rated the school requires improvement for quality of education, personal development and early years provision.

In the Autumn of 2019, Southfield Primary School in Brackley, was judged by Ofsted to be inadequate in all areas and was placed in special measures. As a result, the headteacher and governing body resigned with immediate effect and the school was left facing a very uncertain future.

The Department for Education contacted Dr Annabel Kay, CEO of the Warriner Multi Academy Trust, to help and take over the running of the school. Mr Matthew Green left his role as headteacher of Hornton Primary School to take on the interim headship at Southfield.

Dr Kay said: “To have taken a school from such a low starting point in a little over two years whilst in a global pandemic is something that we are all so proud of. Furthermore, to have been judged 'Good' for leadership and management and behaviour and attitudes is the icing on the cake because this shows that we have taken staff and children firmly with us.

“I am so proud of all the Southfield parents who stuck with us, their children who are a delight, and school and trust staff who never lost their belief in how good the school could be.”

Mr Green had experience of taking a “Requirements Improvement” school to “Good” and immediately embarked on a school improvement programme. This included a new behaviour and anti-bullying strategy, the development of a school improvement culture, a comprehensive programme of staff CPD and the development of an entirely new curriculum from early years to Year 6.

He said: "It has been an absolute privilege to lead this school since October 2019 when the DfE asked The Warriner MAT to take over the reins.

"The culture we have developed is one of continuous learning and continuous improvement for everyone, staff and children alike. It is this culture that has seen the school improve beyond recognition. The commitment and dedication of the entire staff team, the children and the parents here is unlike anything I have experienced in education.

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The inspectors found several positive areas of improvement.

The Ofsted report states: "Pupils who attend Southfield Primary School describe their school as being a kind and creative place to be. They like learning during lessons, learning new things and feel safe because they know the adults will take care of them.

"Parents speak highly of the school. Almost without exception, they would recommend the school to others.

"Leaders and staff have acted with determination to improve the quality of education pupils receive school. Leaders introduced a new approach to teaching phonics just a few weeks ago.

"There is some variability in how well mathematics is taught. It is taught well in the early years, however, there are some inconsistencies in the teaching of mathematics in other classes.

"Pupils behave well in lessons, at breaktimes and around school. Leaders have introduced a new set of three school rules. They understand why it is important to be ‘ready, respectful and safe.'

"Senior leaders are considerate of staff’s workload and well-being. Staff appreciate this and consider themselves to be a supportive staff team.

"The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Leaders make sure that staff know the potential signs of abuse to watch out for and know how to raise any concerns."

The inspectors found several areas for improvement.

The report said: "The plan to promote pupils’ personal development is underdeveloped. Leaders should make sure the programme for pupils’ personal development is carefully planned and embedded.

"There is no school-wide approach to assessment across all subjects. Teachers do not reliably know what pupils have learned in the long term. Leaders should implement a clear strategy to assess what pupils have learned."

"Leaders have made sure that there are curriculum plans in place for all subjects. However, some plans, including those in the early years, have not been sufficiently refined so that pupils can learn, and remember, the most important things."