Orchard and Cherry Tree schools still performing well, according to Ofsted

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Two Watford primary schools are still performing well, according to a new Ofsted report.

An interim assessment concluded The Orchard Primary School, in Gammons Lane, and Cherry Tree Primary School, in Berry Avenue, have sustained their high level of performance since the last full inspection in 2011.

As a result the schools watchdog saw no need to carry out another on-site inspection before the summer term of 2015. However, Ofsted assured parents that if information is received that raises significant concerns about the school in the course of the coming year, it may conduct an earlier inspection.

Paul Sutton, headteacher of Orchard Primary, said the school has improved on its previous grading of Good.

He said: "I am delighted at their acknowledgement we have maintained our high standards.

"Our results have gone up since the last inspection.

"We are a very positive school for the community and parents. We are really pleased and excited Ofsted has acknowledged that.

"If they had come to the school, we would have been ready and hoping for an Outstanding grade this time."

The interim assessments were carried out remotely and based on the school’s results and feedback from parents.

Jessica Bruce, headteacher of Cherry Tree Primary, also welcomed the feedback from Ofsted.

She said: "We are delighted to have received an interim assessment letter from Ofsted. This confirms that we have sustained our Good status since our last inspection in May, 2011.

"The whole school team work incredibly hard to give our children high quality learning experiences and this recognition from Ofsted is very welcome."

In separate two-day inspections in May, 2011, both primary schools were rated 2 for Good by Ofsted, meaning there were very positive features in place and that the schools are serving their pupils well.

But the 2011 reporting inspectors noted areas of improvement for each.

For Orchard, Ofsted’s Marion Wallace said attendence was not yet good because too many families took holidays in term time and that improvements in writing had not yet led to enough pupils reaching the higher levels, largely because teachers occasionally miss opportunities to challenge more-able pupils in this area.

For Cherry Tree, reporting inspector David Wynford-Jones said the school needed to improve the effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage by giving pupils more opportunity to practice their early writing and
number skills, make more effective use of accuate assessment information to ensure progress is made and making sure activities match the abilities of the pupils.

He added the school could raise pupils’ attainment in mathematics and writing by refining middle leaders' and teachers' skills in analysing and using assessment information to further accelerate the rate of pupils' progress and ensuring that all pupils know and understand their next steps for improvement.

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