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The quality of education that pupils receive is poor. Although pupils are happy and say they feel safe, they have significant gaps in their learning. As a result, pupils are not well prepared for the next stage of their education.
Some leaders' expectations of what pupils can achieve, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), are too low. The learning provided for pupils does not build on what they already know or can do. As a result, they do not develop the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to enable them to succeed.
Behaviour is improving. The new systems that have been put in place by the acting headteacher, known as the... 'Pembroke Way', are helping. Pupils say that bullying does happen.
Most pupils are confident that staff will deal with any issues quickly.
Pupils enjoy the wide range of lunchtime and after-school clubs, such as chess, cooking and dance. Older pupils are proud to take on roles of responsibility, such as members of the 'school parliament'.
They say that this helps them understand the importance of democracy and fairness.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Senior leaders, trustees and local governors have not acted quickly enough to address the significant decline since the previous inspection. Although changes in leadership have been a factor, governors and trustees have not assured themselves that leaders' actions have made enough of a positive difference to pupils' learning.
The recently appointed acting headteacher knows the school well. She has quickly identified what needs to be done to make the school better by challenging low expectations of pupils' behaviour and bringing the staff team together. However, some new initiatives are too new to see any demonstrable impact.
Pupils do not learn to read as well as they could. A significant number of pupils in the early years and key stage 1 are unable to read with confidence. Staff are not consistent in teaching the school's agreed approach to phonics.
They do not focus precisely enough on the sounds they want pupils to know. Too many pupils have books that do not match the sounds they know. As a result, pupils are not developing into fluent readers.
Leaders have recently started to reorganise the curriculum. However, learning is not planned well enough in most subjects, including in the early years. The key knowledge pupils need to know is not sequenced coherently so that pupils build on previous learning and know more and remember more over time.
In early years, children do not gain the knowledge and skills they need to be ready for Year 1. In mathematics, teachers do not routinely ensure that pupils remember the essential mathematical knowledge they need. This leads to gaps in their mathematical learning.
For example, pupils struggled to recall number bonds or to work with fractions.
Teachers do not use assessment well enough to check on what pupils know. Learning is not routinely adapted to meet the needs of pupils, including those with SEND.
Pupils do not understand if they have done well or what successful learning looks like. Consequently, their learning slows.
Pupils with SEND do not achieve well.
Leaders have not ensured that individual pupil plans to support their learning are precise enough. Individual targets are either too broad or based on assessment information that is inaccurate. Children with social and emotional needs sometimes struggle to access the curriculum.
Although interim leaders are aware of this, the work to improve these shortcomings has only just started.
Leaders have raised their expectations of how pupils should behave. Despite these improvements, parents and carers remain concerned about pupils' behaviour.
Some pupils revert to low-level disruptive behaviour in class when learning does not match their needs well enough. Younger pupils struggle to manage their emotions during play and lunchtimes.
Leaders have designed a personal development curriculum which makes clear some of the knowledge that pupils need to learn.
They seek to promote pupils' personal development through lessons and assemblies. Pupils develop their moral understanding by learning about the importance of manners. However, leaders' work to ensure that pupils are confident in discussing and understanding different cultures and faiths is less developed.
Staff are positive about working at the school. They welcome the recent changes and systems that have been put in place. They say that governors and leaders consider their workload and well-being.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders ensure that there is a strong culture of safeguarding. Staff use their training well to spot signs of concern quickly.
Leaders know the safeguarding needs within the local community. They use this information to ensure the most vulnerable pupils and their families get the help they need. Trust leaders make sure that staff have received the appropriate checks to be able to work in the school.
Pupils know how to keep themselves safe in the online world. They talk confidently about their 'digital footprint' and know what to do to keep their personal information secure.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Trustees and local governors do not hold school leaders to account for the quality of education.
Pupils across the school do not achieve as well as they should. Trust leaders and governors must ensure that there are effective systems in place to increase their level of challenge to school leaders for the quality of education pupils receive. ? Leaders do not ensure that the school's phonics programme is delivered consistently well.
Many pupils at the early stages of reading, including in the early years, cannot use and apply phonics to read accurately. Many read books that are too difficult. Leaders must ensure that phonics teaching is effective in all year groups, there is a precise focus on the sounds they want pupils to know and that pupils develop accuracy and read fluently.
• The early years provision is poor. Children do not gain the knowledge and skills they need to achieve well across the curriculum. As a result, they are not well prepared for the next stage of their education.
Leaders need to ensure that there is a suitably ambitious early years curriculum that enables children to become confident and independent learners. ? Leaders have not made clear the essential knowledge pupils need to learn across many subjects. As a result, pupils are not able to confidently recall or use both recent and prior knowledge.
Leaders must ensure that the key knowledge pupils need to learn is identified in all subjects. Assessment needs to be effective to check how well pupils know and remember this key knowledge. ? Learning is not adapted well enough to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.
As a result, these pupils do not learn as well as they should. Leaders and staff must ensure that they check the quality and effectiveness of support plans and how well they are being implemented across the curriculum to ensure that the needs of pupils with SEND are met. ? Having considered the evidence, I strongly recommend that leaders and those responsible for governance do not seek to appoint early career teachers.
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