The trust responsible for a school rated as 'inadequate' by Ofsted has said it is disappointed by the findings of inspectors who visited just months after more than a year of disruption to learning.

Wendron School has been rated 'inadequate' overall, with quality of education, personal development, leadership and management and early years provision also rated inadequate and behaviour and attitudes rated as 'requires improvement'.

It is the latest inspection to be carried out in the area by Ofsted inspectors in the months after schools reopened in March, following the second period of home learning during lockdown.

The visit took place over two days in October and is the first time the school has been inspected by Ofsted since joining the Southerly Point Co-operative Multi-Academy Trust in 2017.


A spokesperson for the trust said today [Friday]: "The report is clear that the pupils at the school are happy, safe and attend well; we are disappointed with the outcome from Ofsted.

"While we do not intend to challenge the report, we do believe that Ofsted has failed to reflect the many challenges and the very great disruption that Covid has caused over the past 20 months.

"Without these challenges and the amount of time staff have needed to spend on ensuring children are safe and healthy, then the school would have progressed much more quickly.

"We have already drawn up a rapid action plan, which we are enacting, covering a new curriculum, a new phonics programme and a class and year restructure.

"This work is being supported by a new interim governing body which has been recently appointed.

"We are confident that these actions will mean that the school is delivering a high-quality education to pupils very soon, and we are working hard every day to achieve that.”

The Ofsted inspection found that the school does not support pupils to "fulfil their potential" and expectations were too low.

It adds: "Staff do not challenge pupils sufficiently and routinely accept low-quality work. Pupils’ workbooks are often poorly presented, lacking care and attention."

The inspectors also note: "Leaders and teachers prioritise providing pupils with engaging activities rather than what it is they want pupils to know and remember."

Trustees and governors were described as not knowing the school’s weaknesses, with the report stating: "They have an overgenerous view of the school, so under-performance remains unchallenged. Efforts to improve the school have been ill-informed, minimal and ineffective."

The inspectors did note positive aspects, stating that pupils are respectful, courteous and polite, that they are safe while at school and attend well.

It notes that pupils are "adamant that bullying does not occur."

It also states that the arrangements for safeguarding are effective, with the recruitment processes "robust", only appointing adults who are suitable to work with children. Staff have the training they need to keep pupils safe and designated safeguarding leads consider concerns closely, taking appropriate action where needed.

The school has been given a series of findings in order to improve:

  • Trustees and governors have been told to challenge leaders about the performance of the school more and provide "effective" support.
  • School leaders should use less out-dated and more "reliable assessments" when deciding on priorities for improvements to education.
  • Ofsted have said that an "urgent review of the school's curriculum" is needed, so that pupils know and remember more, and that teachers must then be able to adapt it to support all pupils. Teachers must also do more to assess pupils’ knowledge and sequence lessons.
  • The school’s approach to teaching phonics has been described as "poor", with leaders told to make sure a programme is in place from day one, with a system to help pupils catch up gaps in their knowledge, and that books are matched to the sounds pupils know.
  • Expectations in early years learning is said to be "too low" and that a "suitably ambitious" early years curriculum needs to be in place, so children can learn to be independent.
  • Inspectors said there were "huge holes" in pupils' understanding of British values, faiths, cultures and beliefs, and that a "meaningful, age-appropriate curriculum that prepares pupils well for life in modern Britain" needs to be developed.
  • Identifying and supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities is described as "weak", with inspectors saying some pupils waited "too long" to have their needs identified and that more effective process of doing so needs to be in place.
  • Finally, Ofsted has "strongly recommended" that the school does not currently appoint early career teachers [those newly qualified].