St Mark's CofE Primary School Closed - for academy Aug. 31, 2014
phone: 020 *** ***
headteacher: Mr Peter Burton
210 pupils capacity: 90% full
95 boys 50%
90 girls 48%
Last updated: Aug. 31, 2014
Primary — Voluntary Controlled School
- Education phase
- Religious character
- Church of England
- Establishment type
- Voluntary Controlled School
- Establishment #
- Close date
- Aug. 31, 2014
- Reason closed
- For Academy
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 534245, Northing: 168413
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.399, Longitude: -0.071622
- Accepting pupils
- 4—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- March 14, 2013
- Ofsted special measures
- In special measures
- Diocese of Southwark
- Region › Const. › Ward
- London › Croydon North › South Norwood
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Free school meals %
- St Mark's Church of England Primary Academy SE254JD
- 0.2 miles Harris Academy South Norwood SE256AE (1333 pupils)
- 0.3 miles South Norwood Primary School SE255QP (500 pupils)
- 0.3 miles Bridge To School SE256XX
- 0.4 miles Crosfield Nursery School SE255BD (101 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Cressey College SE255RE (61 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Oasis Academy Arena
- 0.6 miles Stewart Fleming Primary School SE207YB
- 0.6 miles Ryelands Primary School SE254QL (427 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Heavers Farm Primary School SE256LT (585 pupils)
- 0.6 miles St Chad's Catholic Primary School SE256LR (452 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Stewart Fleming Primary School SE207YB (403 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Oasis Ryelands SE254QL
- 0.7 miles Cypress Junior School SE254AU
- 0.7 miles St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary School SE255BN
- 0.7 miles St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary School SE255BN (437 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Cypress Primary School SE254AU (711 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Anerley Primary School SE208BW
- 0.9 miles James Dixon Primary School SE208BW (433 pupils)
- 0.9 miles St Anthony's Roman Catholic Primary School SE208ES (173 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Ashburton Junior School CR07AR
- 0.9 miles Ashburton Infant School CR07AR
- 0.9 miles Whitehorse Manor Junior School CR78SB
- 0.9 miles Whitehorse Manor Infant School CR78SB
26 June 2014
Interim Executive Headteacher
St Mark's Church of England Primary School
Dear Pete Holteen,
Special measures monitoring inspection of St Mark's CofE Primary School
Following my visit to your school on 25 and 26 June 2014, I write on behalf of Her
Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills to confirm the
inspection findings. Thank you for the time you made available to discuss actions
taken to improve the school since the previous monitoring inspection.
This was the fourth monitoring visit since the school became subject to special
measures following the section 5 inspection in March 2013. The full list of the areas
for improvement which were identified during that inspection is in the annex to this
letter. Having considered all the evidence I am of the opinion that at this time:
The school is not making reasonable progress toward the removal of special
It is recommended that the school does not appoint newly qualified teachers.
All school leaders should take urgent action to immediately:
improve safeguarding systems and review all practice for safeguarding pupils
ensure pupils feel safe and their emotional needs are adequately met
eradicate inadequate teaching
This letter and monitoring inspection report will be published on the Ofsted website.
I am copying this letter to the Secretary of State, the Chair of the Governing Body,
the Director of Children’s Services for Croydon and the Diocese of Southwark.
Her Majesty’s Inspector
1-4 Portland Square
|T 0300 123 1231 |
Text Phone: 0161 6188524
|Direct T 0117 311 5359 |
Direct F 0117 315 0430
The areas for improvement identified during the inspection which took
place in March 2013.
Improve the quality of teaching to at least good, particularly in
mathematics, so that pupils make faster progress especially in Years 1 to 4,
by making sure that:
Improve the effectiveness of all leaders, managers and governors, and
urgently increase the pace of improvement, by making sure that:
teachers use information about what pupils know already to ensure the activities they
pupils know their targets and can assess how well they and others have done
teachers’ marking and the feedback provided helps pupils to take the next step with
meetings to discuss pupils’ progress focus on how well pupils are learning so that any
teaching assistants always support small groups and individual pupils when the
teachers help pupils to check their own work, including the accuracy of their
teachers teach pupils to use a variety of methods of calculation and to extend the
more opportunities are provided for pupils to work on their own using step-by-step
provide are not too hard or too easy for pupils of different abilities
greater confidence and know what to do to improve their work
underachievement is swiftly identified, additional support is quickly put in place and
teachers’ expectations are raised
teacher is teaching the whole class
calculations in mathematics
range of vocabulary they use in their writing
strategies to solve challenging problems and to apply their thinking skills across a
range of subjects.
|An external review of governance should be undertaken|
all leaders and managers develop the necessary skills to make accurate checks on
the quality of teaching and learning through additional training and coaching from
leaders of good or outstanding schools
all staff participate in further training to improve their teaching and leadership skills
existing good practice is shared across the school through teachers observing
effective teaching and sharing planning so they understand the components of a
leaders and teachers set more challenging targets for pupils’ learning and teachers
are held fully accountable for pupils’ attainment and progress
the school improvement plan is sharply focused on important priorities and
contains clear objectives, demanding timescales and explicit measures of success,
so that its impact can be gauged more accurately
governors are fully informed about the work of the school so that they can take an
increasingly active part in checking on how pupils are achieving.
Report on the fourth monitoring inspection on 25 and 26 June 2014
During this inspection, meetings were held with the interim executive headteacher,
heads of school, teaching and assistant staff, senior leaders, pupils and members of
the governing body. Discussions were held with parents, representatives of the
diocese, the local authority and the academy trust. The inspector visited all
classrooms with the senior leaders. She reviewed a range of documentation with
senior leaders, including pupils’ work, attendance and safeguarding information. The
school’s improvement plan was evaluated.
Significant staff changes have occurred since the last monitoring visit. The previous
interim executive headteacher left at the end of the spring term 2014 as part of the
transition to the future academy sponsor. The diocese brokered external leadership
services from the academy trust. The future academy sponsor, REAch2, agreed to
provide part-time support from April from the executive headteacher of Castle Hill
Academy. This executive headteacher will take up the permanent position as
headteacher at St Mark’s School from September 2014.
Two long-term agency teachers left in April. One permanent class teacher is away on
long-term absence. The interim head of school teaches Year 2 since the beginning of
June. Year 4 and Year 1 are taught by new agency teachers. Teaching assistants for
pupils with special education needs are covered by daily agency staff when absent.
A head of school has been recruited by the academy trust and governing body. She
came to post in May. She is working with the executive headteacher in school to
provide leadership support in readiness for her permanent role in September.
Three class teachers, the temporary leader of inclusion and previous interim head of
school are leaving in July. The academy trust has recruited three teachers for
September, one is a newly qualified teacher and two are experienced middle leaders.
Achievement of pupils at the school
At the time of the last monitoring inspection pupils’ achievement in Years 2 to 4 was
inconsistent. Leaders informed governors that attainment in Key Stage 1 and Key
Stage 2 tests for 2014 were unlikely to be higher than 2013. Since then, poor
teaching and too many temporary staff has led to a marked decline in achievement.
For example, Year 4 had seven teachers and Year 2, four teachers, since September.
Achievement in Year 1 is weak. Progress has stalled especially in writing because of
inconsistent teaching and low expectations. In April, external leaders from REAch2
Academy Trust re-assessed all pupil performance data. The local authority also
moderated pupils’ work and teacher assessments in Reception, Year 2 and Year 6.
This information is an accurate record of current standards.
Attainment in the Early Years Foundation Stage is typically at expected levels but
stronger in literacy than numeracy. The previous senior leadership team correctly
identified weak progress in writing across the school. Strategies to address this and
improve writing were not sustained because of high staff mobility and an absence of
experienced middle leaders in the school. In Year 2 attainment in writing is likely to
be strikingly below the national average, twenty four percent of pupils have been
assessed at level 2b; the national average in 2013 was sixty seven percent. In Key
Stage 2 unvalidated writing assessments indicate that results are likely to be below
the government recommended floor standard.
Work in mathematics books show pupils explore shape and space, data handling and
number calculations. Progress in Years 1-4 is inadequate, and presentation and
marking is poor. Work is poorly planned and is frequently too easy or too difficult.
This is severely limiting pupils’ progress.
No detailed analysis is available about the rates of pupil progress and the
achievement of different groups or how effectively the gap is closing for those in
receipt of pupil premium funding and their peers.
The quality of teaching
Teaching has declined rapidly since the last visit. Leaders continue to challenge poor
practice consequently teachers leave to be replaced by more temporary staff. The
tentative improvement in adults’ confidence to teach more effectively identified in
the last monitoring visit, has not been sustained. The quality of teaching in Years 1-4
and rates of progress in these classes are poor and remain critical priorities as
identified originally in the Ofsted report in March 2013.
Teaching remains stronger in Reception, Year 5 and Year 6. Work in books and
observations in lessons show pupils are more interested and involved in their
learning. They are able to work alone when adults work with other groups because
they know what to do and they want to complete their tasks. Teaching assistants in
these classes prepare for group work with pupils and relationships are positive.
When additional adults are fully prepared and work closely with the teacher, they
are support pupils’ learning, however this is inconsistent.
In Years 5 and 6 pupils know their targets. They are effectively challenged in their
learning and most pupils can assess how well they have done. In these classes
pupils apply their thinking skills across a range of subjects. In Years 1-4, pupils’
books show insufficient work in art, RE, science, history and geography.
Teaching for pupils with special needs is inconsistent. In most cases additional adults
help these pupils participate in learning activities, guided by their individual
education plans. When adults forge respectful relationships, particularly for pupils
with behaviour and emotional needs, pupils talk to these trusted adults, get back on
track with their work and learn safely. In other cases some pupils do not receive the
specialist support to which they are entitled. Staff, without required skills, work with
vulnerable pupils whose needs are therefore not adequately met.
Behaviour and safety of pupils
The single central record does not meet statutory requirements. It has not been
adequately maintained by leaders. Staff, governors and volunteers are verified to
work with children against the disbarring list, but additional checks have not been
made for all staff. The annual safeguarding audit from May is incomplete. Risk
assessments are not consistently carried out. Governors have not ensured safe
recruitment or that pupils are kept safe.
Changes in leadership and teaching staff impact negatively on the behaviour and
safety of pupils. A minority of pupils show distress in classrooms, a new problem
since the since the last monitoring visit. Vulnerable pupils find staff changes and new
routines unsettling and difficult to manage. One pupil told the inspector ‘teachers do
not know us, every time we have a new teacher they have to learn our names and
we have to learn their expectations, it is hard.’
When teaching is more effective behaviour in lessons is usually calm but in many
lessons, noise levels are too loud and children are disengaged. New leaders
introduced initiatives to tackle the downturn in behaviour. For example a room for
reflection has been set up to help pupils calm down and consider the impact of their
behaviour on others. It is too early to identify whether this room and policy will help
pupils’ unsettled feelings. Pupils told the inspector they would like to retain
incentives such as special dinner tables, certificates and reward assemblies as well
as the deterrents and sanctions.
The quality of leadership in and management of the school
Too many senior leadership changes since the school became subject to special
measures and high staff mobility has impeded school improvement. It is too early to
see the impact of new initiatives since the last monitoring visit to address the
priorities for school improvement. Underperformance of teachers has been
addressed in some instances and staff have left the school, but the recruitment of
highly skilled teachers has not occurred and so the inadequacies continue. Further
high staff turnover is anticipated before September.
Not all staff share the vision for rapid school improvement; some do not choose to
accept that urgent change is essential. This creates an unacceptable contrast in
expectations for pupils’ behaviour and achievement. Pupils continue to have
inadequate experiences in Year 1-4. This is does not occur in other year groups. In
Reception, Year 5 and Year 6 teachers are keen to take on additional responsibility
and they comment positively about the future changes for the school.
Parents told the inspector that despite positive meetings about the school’s future
status with the academy trust, they are disheartened. Comments included, ‘The
Academy has come too late’; ‘The long road to recovery has taken too long.’ Adults
rationalise organisational changes but for pupils it is very unsettling. There are
incidents of distressed behaviour in some children. It is against this backdrop that
the new academy will sponsor the school at the start of the year.
The external leadership support provided by the executive headteacher through the
academy trust has begun. Pupil data has been reassessed and every pupil’s English
and mathematics book in Years 1-6 has been audited to check standards and
marking. The school improvement plan includes actions to deal with the current
situation this term. New approaches to teaching English, mathematics and improving
behaviour are being introduced. Pupils and some staff respond positively to new
school values stated and shared at the beginning of morning and afternoon sessions.
It is too early to see the impact of these initiatives on standards or pupils’ wellbeing.
Governors worked closely with the diocese to finalise the academy sponsor for the
school. Some governors have asked challenging questions and engaged in robust
discussion about the decline in pupils’ behaviour and achievement. They know the
school remains inadequate in too many areas. They did not know however that
some risk assessments were incomplete or that the single central record had
shortcomings. They are not fulfilling their statutory duties in monitoring the school
effectively to ensure adequate safeguarding of all pupils.
The diocese, local authority, governing body and academy trust do not work
strategically together. Discussions and meetings have occurred between these
parties but a clear transition plan, as indicated in the local authority statement of
action, has not been co-ordinated effectively. This means signs of poor
administration, an oversight of risk management associated with fragile school
systems and weak handover between different leadership teams, have failed to
address poor standards, and ensure good wellbeing and safety for pupils in the