Tuesday 28 March 2017
Rougham Primary School disputes Ofsted Report
Rougham CEVC Primary School was inspected by Ofsted over two days in mid-January and has recently received the inspector’s report which has unexpectedly judged this popular school to be ‘inadequate’.
At an open meeting held at the school on Monday evening (27 March) to discuss the report with parents, a senior education representative from Suffolk County Council stated, “We do not recognise this school from reading the report, and [based on] the information that we have.” Parents expressed their wholehearted support for the school at the meeting and voiced deep discontent with the assessments made by Ofsted.
The inspector noted the ‘good behaviour of the children who feel safe and trust adults to help and support them’. Key Stage 1 results at the school were well above national average in all areas in 2016 and Key Stage 2 results were at national average or above for reading and writing.
Headteacher Diane Grimes expressed her disappointment on behalf of the staff and governors, who have worked tirelessly during a period of considerable change over the past two years.
Mrs Grimes said: “The school governors, the church and most importantly our children’s parents have all been wonderfully supportive of our school. They are hugely appreciative of the rewarding atmosphere we have created at Rougham. Children feel safe, good teaching and learning are an absolute priority, and extra-curricular activities such as sports, music and drama are all actively encouraged.”
After receiving the report, an overwhelming majority of parents expressed their disbelief. Mrs Chloe Weeks, a parent and Governor, speaking on their behalf, said, “This report is in no way a fair reflection of our experience of the school”.
Mr Terry Jennings, Chair of Governors, has formally lodged a complaint about the conduct of the inspection. The school is continuing to appeal against the judgement and is in the process of requesting a re-inspection by Ofsted. He said: “We are all extremely proud of our school. This judgement is unduly harsh and gives an unbalanced account of the school, which is highly regarded within the community and beyond.”
Another concerning aspect of the process was the online Parent View questionnaire, which Ofsted subsequently confirmed had been maliciously abused, considerably distorting the results.
Mrs Grimes added: “Despite the disappointing outcome, we are a strong, united team determined to make any necessary adjustments so that we can quickly reach the position we deserve.”
Parents' comments re Ofsted
‘I have no concerns at all; I’m really happy with where my children are, just feel sorry for the staff who have to go through this and so publicly.’
‘I am a happy parent; Ofsted are not the whole picture’
‘What a load of total rubbish! I will come to the meeting on Monday to show my support’
‘I am more than happy with the education and support my children have received. They are lucky enough not to have SEN but I have only ever witnessed inclusion. Will try my best to be at the meeting’
‘If the school was as bad as the Ofsted report would we send our children there? Exactly - what a Sham! Why focus on negative, look at the positives. Will come on Monday to show support’
‘I will come to meeting on Monday solely in capacity of support for staff and governors, not as a concerned parent’
‘Please pass on my support. Couldn't believe what I was reading, it certainly doesn’t reflect our experience of Rougham School! Utter nonsense. Feeling for you all who work so hard for all of us’
‘Progress can't be made or measured without confident children. Confident children is what Rougham does best, so measuring progress will be easy!
‘I can see the progress made by looking at her work, I don't need a scale to measure it on. It makes me really cross. Are they wanting teachers or data analysts? I find it hard to believe that these so called issues haven't been noticed by us yet when some of us have had children in every class.’
‘The report doesn’t match my experience and I’m on my third child going through’
‘I think it's utterly ridiculous! If I had ANY concern my daughters would not be / have been there’
‘I feel that Ofsted has insulted the intelligence of parents by noting that the parents are happy with the school when they then tell us all the faults of the school.’
‘To me it is such an unfair representation of the school and clearly shows a hidden agenda’
‘I would like the Ofsted team to contact me as I don’t feel the parent view survey is an accurate view of the school’
‘Please hold your head high and keep up the good work; you have my support’
‘As parents of children at RPS we would like you to know how much we support you in your role of head teacher and mentor. The children and staff are happy to have you to lead the way.
‘Mrs. Grimes is a very approachable person and one whom we think has brought great leadership to the school with a firm but fare manner. The teachers are all fantastic. We will continue to support you and all the staff in any way we can. As parents we couldn’t be happier with the school.’
‘So sorry to read this report, you have a fantastic team and we have nothing but praise for everything you have done and are doing at Rougham School. Our children are so happy and doing really well in every subject. Let’s hope the next inspection they realize they have made mistakes.’
‘We do not think that Rougham School is inadequate. My children have been very happy there, this is partly down to you and the staff.’
‘I can only express my shock and disappointment at the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection. I have always been very happy with the level of education that my children have received at Rougham and the many additional opportunities that have been made available to them. The music is a good example of this, which is not even mentioned in the report. They have continually made good progress. Our children love Rougham, they are always keen to come to school and have so much enthusiasm for the topic they are learning about. Please keep doing what you are doing, you all do a great job’
‘We wanted to share with you all our very best wishes and positive thought following the devastating report. We just wanted to say that from our experience we have found all aspects of Rougham School to be good.’
‘This is no way a reflection of our wonderful school. You are all amazing and we could not be happier with everything you do for our children.’
‘Sometimes we don’t know how loved and valued we are until it comes into question’
‘We are very surprised at the recent Ofsted report, especially with regards to the comments about reception class. We have been amazed at how great a job you have all done this year. My child has learnt so much and most importantly has really enjoyed learning and going to school. We could not fault your teaching and hard work and hope it is recognized throughout the school and with the other parents.’
‘I really think you are the best, surely they got the wrong school?’
‘We were saddened by the Ofsted process you have been through. We have happy children who continue to progress and thrive at your school. I’m sure you have the strength as a team to get through this time. You have a wonderful school and as parents we trust your professional judgments to know how best to teach our children.’
‘"Well that's not true! Rough am is awesome and I never want to leave....How can that lady get away with saying things that are not true? I think someone else needs to come and see our school and then they will see how great it is and tell that other lady that's she's wrong."
‘I love my school just the way it is now’
‘Our son is in his third year at Rougham Primary School where he has thrived, not only in terms of learning but also confidence, receiving what we, his parents, firmly believe to be a first class education. My step-daughter is 13 years old and has been educated in a private school here in Suffolk throughout her primary years. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard out of the mouth of her father praise for Rougham Primary as he wonders at how much more thorough and enriching an education our son is receiving in our local primary school than his daughter did in the well-reputed private school she attended. We feel so fortunate to have this excellent school within our community, with its outstanding, committed Head and team of staff who truly deserve the outpouring of praise and support they have received from us all, parents and children alike, in response to the recent, clearly flawed Ofsted inspection.’
Letter to Ofsted from Rougham Primary School Parent Body - signed by over 100 parents so far.
Monday 27th March 2017
It would be an understatement to say that the publication of the OFSTED inspection at Rougham Primary School on 18-19 January 2017 was received with shock and total disbelief by a vast number of parents of children at the school. Indeed, we believe that it was not only parents who found this incredulous, as our Local Education Authority representative stated no less than three times publicly: “We do not recognise this school from the report”.
Whilst we, as parents, acknowledge that there are always improvements to be made the report is also unrecognisable to us. We would like to draw attention in particular to the pupils’ outcomes being marked as inadequate. As parents, we are happy with the way our children are progressing at school. We know this because we attend termly parents evenings, monthly ‘drop in’ sessions after school, receive annual detailed reports, and value the ‘open door’ policy that our Head teacher operates, enabling all parents to be able to discuss their child’s progress. We are also invited to attend specialist sessions so that we can understand current teaching methods in subjects like maths and therefore more effectively, support our children at home. As parents the strength of how well our children are being taught is evidenced daily.
The outcomes, however, for our children are not purely academic and we are proud that our children have so many opportunities to grow and learn in a holistic way. As parents, we place huge value on the nurturing, safe and respectful environment and the enrichment given both within the curriculum and in the extra-curricular opportunities. Of course we want our children to thrive academically to the best of their ability but we also want our children to have a rich, stimulating and fulfilling education which we know that Rougham School offers.
Regarding the parent questionnaire, when it was suggested that the website had been manipulated the response from the inspector was that parents were being given too much technical credit. However, this has since been acknowledged by OFSTED by the removal of 114 responses. In addition we are questioning the comment on the report that states that there was only one single response to the confidential pupil questionnaire. This is clearly inaccurate as we know as a fact that numerous children completed it.
We were told by the Local Authority representative that as a school being deemed ‘Inadequate’, nothing positive was allowed to be said. This is outrageous as it is not a fair representation of the truth. Fortunately as parents at Rougham we are not so easily taken in, as we embrace the enterprising initiatives of children to bake cakes to raise money for charity or as we witness our school orchestra of 30+ children performing at our Christmas concert.
We have been infuriated by the judgement of the SEN provision. We have evidence from families endorsing the outstanding support that they have received from the school for their children. One of the parents writes: “As a parent who has a child with special educational needs I take great exception to this report on the standard of SEN support the children are given……giving our child the kind of learning experience that a parent could only hope to receive if they went to a private school. I have been blown away by the school’s dedication to supporting these children.”
Without exception, we as parents question the disparity between the school we see and the report, which leads us to question whether there is another agenda. From what has been explained to us by our Headteacher and by the Chair of Governors, we are appalled by the manner in which we have learnt that the inspection was carried out. Being told at the parent meeting that a child, given the responsibility to greet the inspector when entering the room to discuss their work, was so casually dismissed by the lead inspector, saying that she did not have time, is beyond belief to us as parents.
It is equally beyond our belief that when the Headteacher offered to find evidence to support a particular query, once again the inspector did not ‘have time’ for it. How many more instances might there have been when the inspector chose to ignore evidence that could have made the outcome such a different one?
As a parent body we wholeheartedly support and have total confidence in the Headteacher, staff and governors at Rougham School to provide the best education for our children.
It is for this reason that we urge you to consider, reflect and respond to our voice, after all it is our children’s education that is being brought into question. We therefore appeal to you to re-inspect the school.
We look forward to a considered and positive response.
Rougham Primary School Parent Body
Rougham Acorns and Woodlands Preschool would like to show their full support to Rougham Primary School after the publication of their recent Ofsted report.
In reading the report, the school that we know is totally unrecognisable. We have strong links with the school and the majority of our preschool children transition up to the Primary school. Our wrap around service provides care for the primary school children ranging across all the ages. The children are always happy and enthusiastic and speak positively about their school day.
We strongly believe that staff provide a safe and nurturing environment and support each and every child to their individual needs.