Hungerford Primary School given Islington’s third ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating in space of six months

Hungerford Primary School. Picture: Google Street View

Hungerford Primary School. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

A third Islington school has been given an “inadequate” Ofsted rating in the space of six months.

Highbury Grove School

Highbury Grove School - Credit: Archant

Hungerford Primary School has been placed in special measures and is set to be converted into an academy after a damning inspection found that senior leaders “do not have the capacity” to improve the school.

The five-day inspection – which started in November but was concluded in March so more evidence could be gathered – found leadership, teaching and pupil outcomes at the school were inadequate. “Personal development, behaviour and welfare” and early years provision were judged to “require improvement”.

Inspectors found the teaching of subjects other than English and maths to be “haphazard and undeveloped” and that “teachers do not consistently ensure that pupils understand what is required of them”.

Despite pupils in Key Stage 1 reaching above average standards in the 2016 national tests in reading, writing and mathematics, disadvantaged and special needs students were found to be making insufficient progress.

In a letter to parents, headteacher Brian Bench said: “The judgement that Ofsted has arrived at is regrettable and particularly harsh given that only our 2016 Key Stage 2 results were below the national average.

“The governors, leaders and staff accept that the school has weaknesses which need to be addressed, but we also know the school has many strengths.

Most Read

“The school has responded quickly to concerns raised and is working in partnership with the local authority and our own independent advisors.

“We urge you to support your child’s class teacher over the coming months to ensure continuity through the challenging times ahead.”

The Hungerford Road school – rated “good” in its last inspection in 2012 – follows Clerkenwell Parochial Primary School and Highbury Grove secondary school in being given an “inadequate” rating this year.

An Islington Council spokesman said: “We want every child in Islington to be given the best possible education.

“We will continue to work closely with Hungerford School and provide the necessary support towards achieving this goal so pupils, parents and staff can be confident in its future.

“Our priority is the pupils. Where an academy order is issued, the council has a legal duty to support the process and ensure a smooth transition for all concerned.

“We would argue strongly for a local solution that builds on the successful ethos of the vast majority of schools in Islington.”

In spite of the inspection, Islington NUT praised the school – which caters for 475 students – for improving the chances of deprived children across the borough and keeping those in education who might otherwise have ended up excluded and on the streets.

Just three years ago the school was rated in the top 250 in the country for improving progress for disadvantaged children.

Union secretary Tony Buttifint believes academy conversions take place with no say from anyone in the school community and that teacher recruitment is hit the hardest.

“It is increasingly difficult to recruit teachers, especially experienced teachers,” he said.

“London rents are unaffordable, so teachers leave London. The pressure of having to ‘work until my eyes bleed’, as one teacher put it, to document and assess every little bit of progress to prove that it has happened, leads teachers to leave the profession altogether.

“There are now more people with qualified teacher status in this country not teaching than teaching. That is a staggering waste.

“Schools with a challenging intake are not easy to recruit to at the best of times. A negative Ofsted grade makes it harder.”