03:05AM, Wednesday 12 February 2014
Governors have said that Holyport Primary School's weak Ofsted rating does not reflect the steadying influence its headteacher has had since she started the job a-year-and-a-half ago.
Three inspectors visited Stroud Farm Road on Thursday, January 15 and Friday, January 16. They concluded that the school 'requires improvement', just one grade above 'inadequate'.
In its previous inspection, in January 2009, the school was given a 'good' rating.
The inspection team found that higher-ability pupils are not being challenged.
They also criticised the school's senior leadership team, with the report saying 'not all members of this team have the experience and skills necessary for this work', which, it says, is leading to a lack of support for teachers.
But the report praised headteacher Suzanne Hawley, calling her a 'great asset' who 'leads with compassion and conviction'.
It says the school's development plan highlights the correct priorities and reflects Mrs Hawley's 'high ambition'.
Mrs Hawley joined the school in September 2012, after a period which saw three headteachers in five years.
The chair of governors, Martin Cranfield said: "We had identified areas that needed strengthening and everybody has been working hard to achieve this."
Ofsted also praised teachers for the quality of their feedback, and said that 'without exception' they are 'hard-working and focussed on ensuring successful outcomes for all the pupils'.
Martin added: "The school is now enjoying being settled after a period of considerable change and I believe when people read the full report they will see many good things about our school."
Royal Borough Councillor David Coppinger (Con, Bray) said that Mrs Hawley has brought stability after a 'very high turnover' of headteachers.
He said: "We know we have in Suzanne a really good headteacher. Unfortunately when it came to Ofsted they look at the last three years. We were destined to get 'requires improvement'. It couldn't have been anything else."
Cllr Coppinger, who is also a school governor, added: "There's lots of good things happening. She's now in her second year and there's absolutely no doubt that the school is showing clear signs of recovery."
Mrs Hawley was unavailable for comment.
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