Future looking bright for improving school

Cuttleslowe Primary School headteacher Jon Gray working in the school library with Year Three pupils, from left, Louis Edmunds, William Rowe, Alvar Bhutta, Megan Holloway and Nicholas Smith. Picture: OX52292 Ric Mellis

Cuttleslowe Primary School headteacher Jon Gray working in the school library with Year Three pupils, from left, Louis Edmunds, William Rowe, Alvar Bhutta, Megan Holloway and Nicholas Smith. Picture: OX52292 Ric Mellis

First published in Education Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by

AN Oxford school which went into special measures in January has been given a positive report at its first monitoring inspection.

Overall, Cutteslowe Primary School in Wren Road was told it had made satisfactory progress, and aspects of teaching, learning and leadership were praised.

Inspector Graham Lee said: “Pupils’ progress has improved since the previous inspection because of more consistent teaching and more robust systems to monitor their progress.

“In almost all year groups pupils are now making the progress expected of them.

“There is not yet enough good teaching, however, to accelerate progress and make up for previous underachievement.”

He also said inadequate teaching had been largely eradicated.

Improved use of phonics was seeing an impact on reading levels, and Mr Lee said headteacher Jon Gray and deputy headteacher Sarah Gristwood led the school with “great clarity”.

Mr Gray said changes had been made to the curriculum and systems were in place to see further improvements.

He said: “Attendance figures have improved and that’s because we have made lessons more enjoyable and more exciting. There are gaps in learning, particularly with older children where there has been teaching in the past which hasn’t been good enough but the majority of children are now making satisfactory progress.

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“The problem for us is to bridge those gaps and make sure we have more and more good teaching, which is something we have been working on since November.”

Mr Gray said a key aim for the school now was to improve the middle leadership – something which was noted by the inspectors.

He said a new foundation stage co-ordinator and Key Stage Two co-ordinator were due to start in September.

Feedback from pupils to the inspection team indicated there had been improvements in behaviour, with one child telling inspectors they “love school because it is a happy place”.

When it went into special measures, the school was told it needed to accelerate pupils' progress, improve teaching quality and consolidate the work of senior leaders and managers.

The school is set to become an academy in January, sponsored by the outstanding rated Cherwell School, for which Cutteslowe is a feeder primary.

Cutteslowe would become the first Oxfordshire school –and among the first in the country – to be sponsored by another school, rather than just linked through an umbrella or multi-academy trust.

Cheney School, which has just agreed to convert to academy status, is investigating the possibility of acting as a sponsor for Bayard’s Hill Primary in Barton.

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