Portslade school ‘determined’ to improve

Brackenbury Primary School, Locks Hill, Portslade, from Google Streetview
Brackenbury Primary School, Locks Hill, Portslade, from Google Streetview

The headteacher of a Portslade primary school rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted said she was determined to make changes inspectors had called for.

A report from the education watchdog was sent to Brackenbury Primary School, in Locks Hill, Portslade on Monday.

The school was previously rated good but the inspection last month applied new higher standards. Inspectors noted the school had been through considerable change – it is now an all-through primary school – and had new leadership.

Inspectors told the school it needed to improve the provision for children in early years by ensuring teaching is planned to meet children’s needs, and by making activities engaging for children.

The school was also told to develop its assessment practice so that children’s progress could be monitored more accurately.

But Ofsted said the headteacher had ‘shown determination to improve outcomes for pupils’ and that progress had been made.

It also said some teachers had strong subject knowledge and plan lessons well to meet the pupils’ needs, and that this is increasing the rate of progress for some pupils.

Headteacher Lizzie Mullarky, who stepped up from acting head in March, said: “We are absolutely determined to implement the improvements the inspectors have called for.

“We believe that over the past year the school has moved forward positively and will continue to do so. We are already working on further improvements. We are very aware of the changes we need to make and the hard work ahead and we would like to thank our parents for their positive support throughout this year.”

Parents will be able to ask about the report at two meetings, on Friday (June 22) and next Monday (June 25), at the school.

The Ofsted inspection verdict was one of seven reported to the Brighton and Hove City Council children, young people and skills committee on Monday (June 18).

One of them, Tarnerland Nursery School, retained its outstanding rating for the fifth inspection in 16 years.

The other five schools retained their good ratings. They were Dorothy Stringer, Queen’s Park, St Mary’s, Carlton Hill and the Connected Hub.

Two schools that require improvement – Longhill and St Bartholomew’s – were reported to be making effective progress after monitoring visits.

At the committee meeting, at Hove Town Hall, Conservative councillors Andrew Wealls and Nick Taylor and Green councillor Alex Phillips raised concerns about the Ofsted ratings for local schools.

Cllr Taylor and Cllr Phillips wanted more information about what had led Brackenbury to slip from being a good school to one that requires improvement – and what was being done to help the school improve.

Cllr Wealls, Cllr Taylor and co-opted committee member Amanda Mortensen, a school governor, questioned how much was being done to help good schools become outstanding.

State schools in Brighton and Hove are less likely to be outstanding than the national average.

Almost a quarter of the country’s secondary schools are outstanding, Cllr Wealls said, but in Brighton and Hove there were none.

Jo Lyons, the assistant director of children’s services, pointed out that the number of inadequate schools, and those requiring improvement, was below the national average too.

She denied that there was any complacency, highlighting a ‘good to great’ programme locally.

Local school leaders visited outstanding schools around the country to try to learn from them, she added.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.

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