All change as Wigan school is rated as 'good' by Ofsted

Headteacher Janice Taberner celebrates with pupils
Headteacher Janice Taberner celebrates with pupils

Staff and pupils at a school placed in special measures two years ago are celebrating after being judged as “good” by education inspectors.

Ofsted welcomed changes made at Holy Family Catholic Primary School, in Platt Bridge, since it was given the lowest mark of inadequate after an inspection in November 2016.

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Inspector Naomi Taylor wrote: “The focused and effective leadership of the executive headteacher and the new senior leadership team has led to mammoth improvements. This can be seen across all aspects of the school’s work.”

It marks a real turnaround after Ofsted reported all areas of the school had “declined” in the last inspection.

Read more: Wigan primary school placed in special measures

The following year, there was controversy when parents were excluded from the playground after an incident of “unacceptable language” and “threatening behaviour” towards other parents and even children.

Headteacher Janice Taberner welcomed the new report, saying: “We are so pleased to have jumped up two grades. I have only been here for 18 months and it’s great that we have done it so quickly.

“It’s all credit to the staff, the children and the whole school community for their hard work over the last 18 months.”

Inspectors found children made a “good start” in early years and the proportion achieving a good level of development was close to the national average.

Attendance had improved “dramatically”, behaviour was “good” and staff had shown “real skill” in supporting pupils whose behaviour was previously poor.

Mrs Taberner, supported by her deputy, was said to be “ambitious for the school and its community” and parents said the new leadership had “a massive impact to the whole learning environment”.

Governors had “stood shoulder to shoulder” with her in making “several whole-school changes”, including restructuring the senior and middle leadership teams.

Middle leaders used new schemes of work for planning teaching and learning, ensuring there was a “broad and balanced curriculum”.

Teachers had “good subject knowledge”, phonics teaching had improved and the profile of reading had been raised across the school.

The report said: “Leaders have improved the quality of teaching since the previous inspection, with the result that most current pupils make good progress across a range of subjects.

Differences in academic performance between boys and girls are rapidly diminishing. The good quality of teaching now evident in the school means that pupils are now well prepared for the next stage of education.”

But some pupils still had the “legacy of weak teaching”.

Ofsted felt the school could improve by monitoring new assessment procedures, developing the skills of relatively new leaders, ensuring teachers plan for the range of abilities in writing, having staff use accurate grammar and increasing opportunities for mark-making and writing in the early years outdoor area.