Ebrington Closure 7

pdfLink to the full 124 page report (1.81MB)

The latest inspection report published by OFSTED for St James' and Ebrington judge the schools to be ‘good’ overall. The OFSTED inspectors judged that both schools offered an appropriate curriculum and a wide range of activities. The reasons that St James and Ebrington are not judged to be outstanding are because of issues associated with the consistency of teaching throughout the schools.

In a pre-consultation document published by the Governing Body on 22nd January, 2016, it states:
The site [Ebrington School] is constrained by its classroom structure and size to a maximum of 70 pupils and is considered to fall short of the requirements for modern education. (Governing Body, 22.01.2016)
It is unclear from this statement by the Governing Body who considers this to be the case.
There is no evidence from OFSTED that Ebrington School is unable to provide the full and expected range of educational experiences necessary to fulfil the demands of the National Curriculum.
Clearly, if either school was found to be unable to fulfil the demands and statutory requirements of modern education then OFSTED would have judged the schools to be ‘requiring improvement’ and not ‘good’.
It would be a serious matter if an OFSTED inspection team judged a school to be good when the school was unable to meet the statutory requirements for modern education.
The results of national tests at St James’ and Ebrington compare well with the rest of Gloucestershire. In figures published by the Department for Education, test results in reading, writing and maths show the schools are consistently performing better than the majority of Gloucestershire primary schools.

Secondary School Readiness has been raised as a concern by the Headteacher and Governing Body. In the pre-consultation document dated 22nd January, 2016, they state:
The increasing focus on ensuring Year 6’s are ‘Secondary Ready’ comes through the new National Curriculum and other Department for Education initiatives on primary assessment. The need to be ‘Secondary Ready’ (not just academically, but socially and emotionally too), is particularly appropriate in small rural schools where the move to large secondary schools can be more significant to those who are used to sharing their school with only 60 or so other pupils and with only four or five peers.
The children would be much more ‘Secondary Ready’ if they were taught as one group throughout.
(Governors / Headteacher Document, 22.01.2016) 17

The National Curriculum was introduced following the Education Reform Act in 1988. Since then, it has been remodelled many times. Standard Assessment Tasks were introduced and then changed and later amended. The main reason for adjusting the National Curriculum is to raise the level of pupil achievement. The latest changes to the National Curriculum are no different. The changes proposed for the new National Curriculum are designed to raise the expectations for primary schools on how well their pupils achieve.
The DfE states:
.......reforms to the national curriculum, statutory assessment and school accountability for primary schools are designed to ensure that pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education and that schools do not allow pupils to fall behind. Our current expectations for primary schools (level 4 in English and mathematics) do not guarantee secondary readiness. [Emphasis added] (DfE, 2013)
The DfE provided supporting evidence for the changes from national data:
47 per cent of pupils who achieved a level 4 but did not achieve a level 4b or above in both English and mathematics at key stage 2 went on to achieve 5 A*-C GCSE grades (including English and mathematics) in 2012. [Emphasis added]
72 per cent of pupils who achieved at least a level 4b in both English and mathematics at key stage 2 went on to achieve 5 A*-C GCSE grades (including English and mathematics) in 2012. [Emphasis added]
An all-through primary school will be above the floor standard if:
• pupils make sufficient progress at key stage 2 from their starting point in the
reception baseline; or,
• 85 per cent or more of pupils meet the new expected standard at the end of key
stage 2 (similar to a level 4b under the current system). (DfE, March 2014)
The Head Teacher and the Governing Body assert that the new National Curriculum is best taught in single-age classes. However, there is no evidence from professional research, government agencies or headteacher and teacher interviews that supports this assertion in any way. Indeed, the current organisation of schools nationally makes the concept of single-year classes for all primary pupils totally impossible.
Interviews with headteachers and teachers provide a clear professional view on issues associated with the new National Curriculum, class organisation and secondary school readiness.