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Concerns remain at Oxford school after Ofsted’s second visit
AN OXFORD primary school which was told it needs to improve has been warned it is not making sufficient progress.
Bayards Hill in Waynflete Road, Barton, was visited by Ofsted on December 5 .
The report cited low attendance and pupils’ behaviour and concerns remained after a follow-up visit on February 27.
Its improvement plan does not “set out sharp enough actions to drive improvement” and steps to check on progress, Ofsted said. Inspector Ann Henderson also had concerns about upcoming changes in senior leadership at the school.
These include the retirement of headteacher Keith Ponsford at Easter and pending maternity leave for one acting assistant headteacher, she said.
The acting deputy headteacher will also leave at Easter with the deputy head set to return from maternity leave in the summer term.
The inspector said: “There is an urgent need for the school to access additional external support, particularly for leadership during a period of uncertainty and change.”
After first being told to improve, in January Mr Ponsford said Ofsted said “little” the school was not aware of.
The latest report said: “The governing body understands its responsibility to check on the progress towards achieving the planned actions in the school improvement plan and to hold leaders and staff to account for their performance.
“However, at present the structure of the governing body is not enabling governors to focus on the most important areas for them to monitor, linked to the school improvement plan.
“Governors would benefit from receiving training on their roles and responsibilities for checking on the progress of the school and ensuring their training is kept up-to-date.”
The school, which has about 450 pupils, is going through a £5.2m building scheme to update its old classrooms.
Melinda Tilley, cabinet member for children, education, and families at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “One way for a primary school to improve is by getting a good or outstanding secondary school as a sponsor.
“The county council is aware of the situation regarding Bayards Hill and is trying to advise and help.”
Mr Ponsford said: “We are happy to follow the recommendations made.
“A £5m refurbishment is currently under way, which should be concluded in April 2015.
“That will give us every possible opportunity to raise standards and drive forward.”
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