Report says school now functioning smoothly

SPRING Common School in Huntingdon, which was put into special measures in November, is improving, according to the latest Ofsted inspection. The Office for Standards in Education said the special school was now calm, functioning smoothly, and had made sa

SPRING Common School in Huntingdon, which was put into special measures in November, is improving, according to the latest Ofsted inspection.

The Office for Standards in Education said the special school was now calm, functioning smoothly, and had made satisfactory progress in the past six months.

The report was issued last week after an inspection on May 22 and 23.

In between the two inspections there was a change in headteacher at Spring Common.

Chris Owen resigned following the November Ofsted report. In January he was replaced by acting headteacher Kim Taylor, a local authority education inspector, who became head on May 1.

The school, which caters for students with severe learning disabilities, was asked in November to draw up an action plan after inspectors found standards were unacceptable.

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Ms Taylor was found to have made good progress since taking over as head, but Ofsted said there was still a lot more work to be done.

Progress has been made in literacy and numeracy, lessons were generally well taught but occasionally focused on skills or knowledge that pupils had already acquired, and pupils with challenging behaviour were now making better progress in groups more appropriate to their needs.

The report adds: "The school environment has also improved, classrooms are tidy and brightened by the colourful displays of pupils' work. Pupils increasingly enjoy the time they spend at school and get on well with each other."

Inspectors also found planning had improved as the head insisted that all staff use a common planning format.

However, the report goes on to say that more staff are needed at the school and that the leadership team has been expanded to include the school nurse.

Ofsted also felt the headteacher does not have enough support from the local authority. It says: "This limits the extent to which the school can develop the capacity to improve."

The school is not allowed to employ newly-qualified teachers and must establish a rigorous programme of monitoring of lessons.

Ms Taylor said: "I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of staff and governors for children and young people at Spring Common School is recognised in this first HMI report."

Chair of governors Christine Gilder added: "The governors recognise the commitment and efforts made by staff at every level to put things right for pupils and parents.

"Our parents have played a big part in helping us move forward together. Kim Taylor has worked tirelessly with the primary care trust, and with the services directly, to make sure the children now have the all the expert help they need to be able to do well at school."

INFORMATION: Spring Common has 180 pupils aged two to 19.

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