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Staff and pupils praised for their “effort, commitment and dedication” as primary school removed from monitoring

A Wrexham primary school has been removed from monitoring after a recent inspection found it to have made ‘sufficient progress’ in addressing a series of recommendations for improvement.

Acton Park Primary School, Box Lane, was placed under monitoring after Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, described the school’s performance and prospects for improvement as ‘adequate’ following an inspection in May 2017.

Eight recommendations to work on were put forward for the school, including reducing the school’s budget underspend, raising standards in pupils’ writing across the school and in mathematical development in the Foundation Phase and improving strategic leadership at all levels to ensure improved outcomes for pupils.

However new report published by Estyn sees the school removed from a list requiring significant improvement – with praise for the work of staff and pupils since May 2017.

The report noted strong improvements in the following areas:

  • The introduction of a range of new teaching techniques has had a positive impact on the writing skills of most pupils.
  • Overall, there has been a marked improvement in pupils’ understanding and application of basic skills in sentence construction, punctuation and spelling.
  • Across the school, many pupils have developed their ability to work independently on their own, in pairs and in groups.
  • In key stage 2, many pupils have a clear understanding of their strengths and the next steps they need to take in learning
  • Since the core inspection, staff have received a range of valuable professional learning opportunities to improve their knowledge and understanding of how to develop pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills effectively across the curriculum.
  • The introduction of ‘tracked books’ has been particularly effective. In each class, teachers assess and review the work of a small group of identified pupils over time to assist with standardising teacher assessment across the school
  • The quality of teaching in most classes has improved since the core inspection
  • Staff and leadership meetings focus well on the recommendations from the core inspection and have clear outcomes.
  • Governors link with specific recommendations arising from the core inspection report. They meet with the staff responsible for each of these areas on a regular basis to develop their understanding of the progress the school is making.
  • Since the core inspection, staff have received a range of valuable professional learning opportunities to improve their knowledge and understanding of how to develop pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills effectively across the curriculum.
  • Senior leaders work well with governors and local authority officers to ensure close control of spending. The school maintains effective records of expenditure and relates spending decisions closely to the needs of the school and its improvement priorities. As a result, the school now maintains an acceptable budget surplus.

Ian Roberts, head of education at Wrexham Council, congratulated the school for its “excellent outcome” following the Estyn visit and praised everyone for their “effort, commitment and dedication.”

Mr. Peter Cuff, chair of governors, spoke on behalf of the school and said; “Our children, parents, staff and governors have all been involved in our school improvement.

“Knowing that it was not a marginal decision to remove Acton Park from the list of schools requiring significant improvement is testament to the hard work and dedication of all involved.

“There is lots to celebrate and, whilst we will continue on our journey to ensure the very best learning opportunities for our children, we are very pleased that Estyn feel that we clearly have the capacity to do so”.

Cllr Phil Wynn, lead member for education, said: “Congratulations are due to all staff, pupils and governors for their efforts in ensuring the school has delivered against Estyn’s recommendations by the time of the second inspection.

“The reinvigorated working of staff and governors, which I have observed first-hand over the last eighteen months, provides me with confidence that the school will continue to flourish”.



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