AN AMALGAMATION of an infant and junior school has been highlighted as the reason for a decline in quality and outcomes, Ofsted inspectors have reported.

Vigo Primary School, in Vigo Road, Andover, was visited by Ofsted on May 22 in its first inspection following the amalgamation in September 2016, and was graded as 'requires improvement'.

The report, published on June 17, said: “The school has been through a time of turbulence in leadership due to the amalgamation of the infant and junior schools. This has affected the quality of provision and outcomes.

“Numerous changes in staff, including at senior leadership level, have hampered improvements since the amalgamation of the infant and junior school.

“Previously inaccurate assessments of pupils’ progress led to a significant drop in pupil outcomes.”

The quality of teaching was found to be “weak over time” which has resulted in “significant gaps in pupils’ learning”. Although some teaching was found to be good, with some classrooms said to have a “calm, purposeful atmosphere”.

The new headteacher, Julie Bray, was said to be “working tirelessly to establish a shared vision” and had “shown a strong determination to bring about improvements and provide the best possible provision and outcomes for pupils”.

However, the report said it is “too soon for her improved systems to have ensured consistently good teaching, learning and assessment across the school”.

It added: “Initiatives, by new leaders, to improve the quality of teaching and outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics still need time to embed. However, improvements seen demonstrate leaders’ capacity to improve the school further.”

The Ofsted inspector found that staff morale is high, and that staff “speak positively of the impact of the new headteacher despite the significant and, at times, rapid changes”.

Most of the middle and subject leaders are relatively new to their role, and the report said they are “passionate and determined to secure improvement”.

The headteacher said in a statement: "We were pleased to receive our recent Ofsted report and to see that the positive changes we are making at Vigo were recognised by the inspectors.

"The report rightly points out that many members of the school’s leadership team are new and that this meant it was too early for them to see the positive results from the changes we are bringing. However, they highlighted that the school is in a 'strong position to secure further improvements'.

"We are very pleased with how the inspectors identified that the 'welfare of all pupils is paramount' and that we are 'tenacious' in our support for vulnerable pupils.

"As a school we had already identified the areas for improvement reflected in the report and have a robust school improvement plan in place to address those.

"We look forward to welcoming Ofsted back in two years when they can see the impact of the changes we have been making this year."

The school governors were described as “doggedly determined” to improve outcomes for pupils, with the report saying: “To ensure this, they hold leaders to account rigorously.”

Ofsted found teachers were not using assessment of pupils’ work well enough to plan learning, with work not always challenging enough.

The report said: “When teaching does not meet pupils’ needs, they lose focus, show no pride in their work and, sometimes, low-level disruption occurs.”

The report said the welfare of pupils is “paramount”, adding: “There is a strong culture of keeping pupils safe at school. Staff receive regular training and are familiar with the procedures to follow should they have concerns about a pupil.”

A few parents raised concerns about bullying. The inspector said: “Pupils know what bullying is, and told inspectors that bullying was rare but dealt with well by teachers when it occurs.”

Poor outcomes were found in the early years provision, due to weaknesses over time, with outcomes described as “significantly low” in 2018.

However, the new leader was said to have “rapidly gained an accurate overview of the weaknesses in the early years, which her plans are beginning to address”.

The report added: “She has high expectations and a clear vision to develop the early years to ensure the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is good.”