School praised for pupil support during lockdown

Photo of school buildings behind a closed gate.
The front entrance to Stoke Lodge Primary School.

A local primary school previously deemed in need of improvement has been praised by an Ofsted inspector for “taking effective action to provide education” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stoke Lodge Primary School was rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted in September 2016, shortly after joining the Olympus Academy Trust and then again in January 2019.

The 2019 Ofsted report criticised the school for not tackling issues identified for improvement at the previous inspection quickly enough and highlighted poor progress for Year 6 pupils in English and mathematics. However, it praised the ‘good’ Early Years provision and the quality of teaching in Key Stage 1.

The latest Ofsted report, issued following a monitoring inspection conducted remotely in March, finds that headteacher Will Ferris (appointed in September 2019) has “worked effectively alongside the trust to raise expectations and aspirations of both pupil and staff”.

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The report acknowledges that the school ensured that all pupils were able to access the curriculum during the national lockdown in spring 2021 and the extra support that has been provided for vulnerable pupils returning to on-site learning.

Looking forward, the inspector concurs with the headteacher’s view that “some aspects of subject leaders’ work need strengthening”.

In a letter to parents, Olympus CEO Dave Baker expressed frustration that the modified form of the March inspection didn’t allow an opportunity to change the school’s overall judgement to ‘good’.

Mr Baker thanked Mr Ferris for “his leadership at Stoke Lodge and for the way his staff team has transformed the experience for the school’s pupils in the last two years.”

The Parent View survey on the Ofsted website shows that 90 percent of parents would currently recommend Stoke Lodge to other parents, up from just 33 percent in 2017/18.

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As we went to press, we learned that Stoke Lodge had unexpectedly received a further Ofsted Section 8 monitoring inspection, this time on-site, on Wednesday 12th May. The report is still awaited but Mr Baker reports that “positive feedback” was received from the inspector. He added:

“It is likely that they will return for a third time in the first half of next academic year, at which time we are hopeful that Stoke Lodge will be judged to be a ‘good’ school.”

More information: Ofsted reports for Stoke Lodge Primary School

This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 27). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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