‘Safety of pupils is at risk’ - Calderdale school rated inadequate by inspectors

West Vale Primary School.
West Vale Primary School.

A Calderdale school has been rated inadequate by government inspectors and found that the ‘safety of pupils is at risk’.

Ofsted visited West Vale Primary School and downgraded the schools overall rating from ‘requires improvement’ in its last inspection to inadequate.

Nicola Shipman, lead inspector, found that the effectiveness of leadership and management as inadequate.

“Leaders, including governors, have not been rigorous enough in tackling many of the areas for improvement identified at the last inspection,” she said in her report.

“The head teacher and other senior staff have not been sufficiently rigorous in referring concerns disclosed by children to the appropriate agencies.

“Leaders have an overgenerous and inaccurate view of the school’s performance because procedures for leaders to check on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment are ineffective.”

Governance of the school in Stainland road also came under criticism.

The report said: “Governors have not checked the serious incidents and safeguarding records carefully enough.

“Consequently, they have not carried out important reviews of safeguarding practice after incidents have come to light.

“The school’s agreed policies and procedures to protect pupils from risk are not consistently applied.

“Inspectors found evidence of serious incidents that were not reported, recorded accurately or acted upon with urgency.”

Ofsted inspectors also said that evaluation of the school’s effectiveness with regard to safeguarding has not been systematically checked by governors or Calderdale Council.

The report stated that the curriculum does not support pupils’ understanding of British values sufficiently well.

“Pupils’ involvement in religious education lessons and assemblies provides opportunities for reflection, but pupils’ work shows their spiritual development requires improvement.

“Social and moral education is promoted effectively.

“However, pupils’ cultural understanding is a weaker element and requires improvement in order for children to better understand why people have different beliefs and faiths.”

Pupils’ behaviour was praised and inspectors were also impressed with their attitude to learn.

“Pupils behave well in lessons, taking the opportunity to collaborate well with one another.

“Pupils understand the school’s expectations of behaviour and behave well at all times and in different situations around school.

“The school’s own records show that behaviour incidents are low in number and are addressed effectively.

“Children get off to a good start in the early years. They are taught very well and make strong progress, reaching levels above the national average.”

Lynn Lynch, Chair of Governors at West Vale Primary School said: “We are obviously very disappointed by the findings of the recent Ofsted inspection and whilst some progress was noted there is still much which requires improvement.

“As soon as we received the findings we immediately began to address the main areas of concern, with support from Calderdale Council. We have brought in Mr Wightman as our Executive Head to provide the strong leadership we need to help us turn things around.

“The most serious finding for the school was around safeguarding practice – the way that we report and record incidents – and we have already addressed this issue.

“We immediately commissioned an independent audit of safeguarding across all areas of the school and from this we have implemented an action plan which has ensured that our recording practice is now robust.

“We’ve also spoken to all of the children about how to keep safe and who to speak to at school if they have any worries or concerns. Parents can be reassured that Ofsted found that the children ‘feel safe and feel the school is a happy, caring place to be.’

“Governors and staff are now working on an action plan to address all other areas outlined in the report and we are firmly committed to making rapid progress.

“We are ambitious for the school and are working hard to make sure that our students can achieve their full potential.”