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Ofsted inspectors say Edgware Junior School's improvement plan 'not fit for purpose'
A failing school which was branded “inadequate” has come under fire from Ofsted inspectors for a second time.
Edgware Junior School, in Heming Road, was told its school improvement plan was not “fit for purpose” weeks after it was drafted by a deputy headteacher.
A plan by Barnet Borough Council, which was submitted in conjunction with the school’s, was deemed “incomplete” as it did not refer to any specific areas of improvement.
The school and council were ordered to redraft the documents as a matter of urgency, and these were submitted separately.
Although the authority's newly revised action action plan has been received and praised, the school is still waiting for feedback.
To help give it a boost, officials are consulting on merging its sister school - Edgware Infant School - with the junior one to become one big primary school.
In November, inspectors demanded the local authority step in after the unfavourable Ofsted report, in which the school was given the lowest rating possible.
It was then put into 'special measures', but inspectors now say it is unlikely to be able to reach its target of becoming a ‘good’ school by Easter.
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, cabinet member for education, said the same plan helped improve both The Hyde and Parkfield schools.
He told the Times Series: “We knew this was going to be a challenge - we’d already flagged this up before the inspection and were going to put in measures to improve it.
“Unfortunately, Ofsted came at time when they could discover what the situation was and we produced an action plan which they have previously responded positively to.
“But while we welcome the rigour Ofsted brings, this shows there is an inconsistency to it as they seemed to find it acceptable for two other schools.
“We are now confident this new plan will be well received. We want to improve every school in Barnet.”
The school has now been forbidden from employing newly qualified teachers until its standards improve.
Inspectors said there is “too little good teaching”, because they do not have high expectations of their pupils.
It also criticised the students’ “weak” numeracy and literacy skills and warned many could leave unprepared for the next stage of their education.
The council’s new action plan involves giving additional support to the school to improve quality and teaching, and to forge closer links with the governors.
And since the newly appointed interim headteacher Jacequeline Treacy joined, teachers say they have felt a strong sense of purpose around the school.
But parents say they have been feeling “alarmed” by the news, with many considering removing their children from the school.
One father said: “You want your children to do well but if they’re not being given a chance at school, as a parent it’s your duty to do something about it.
“If things don’t improve before the end of the school year, I’ll start to think about pulling my daughter out of school.”
Another woman, a mother of two, added: “It’s definitely worrying as when my daughter goes to high school, I’m scared she’ll be further behind than everyone else.
“I’ll keep my eye on what happens.”
A statement from Barnet Borough Council said: “We are confident there will be significant improvements in the junior school over the summer term.
“The infant school was judged good by Ofsted last year and we are confident that amalgamation would mean the new primary school will also be good soon after the amalgamation.
“Ninety two per cent of Barnet pupils are in good or outstanding schools, which places us fifth nationally out of 152 local authorities.”
The headteacher and chairman of governors were both unavailable for comment.
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