Harpenden Free School on the right track but still needs improvement, say Ofsted inspectors

Harpenden Free School needs improvement, say inspectors

Harpenden Free School needs improvement, say inspectors - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A new free school is on the right track after its first inspection in March found a number of areas that needed improvement.

Harpenden Free School is currently based temporarily at St Luke’s School in Redbourn until it can move into permanent premises in the town’s Victoria Road.

Its first inspection by a team from Ofsted in March when it was based in the Tithe Barn at Harpendenbury Farm, Redbourn, found that improvement was required in the achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management.

Among the criticisms were high levels of staffing instablility, particularly in the Early Years Foundation Stage, and pupils not making enough progress in writing or being provided with sufficient time to learn from teachers’ marking of their work.

On a positive note, the school put pupils’ personal development and happiness at the heart of its work and the governors, interim head and director of learning had a strong sense of common purpose.

Following a monitoring visit last month, the school was found to be taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement.

A new principal, Marissa Davis, has been appointed and moving the school had meant that pupils were taught in separate classrooms and did not all have to learn within the same space.

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Children were responding to a new marking policy and the appointment of a new Early Years Foundation Stage leader had worked quickly to ensure teachers made accurate assessments of children’s abilities on joining the school.

Among the areas still requiring improvement are ensuring all teachers understand their roles in achieving the improvement plans objectives and monitoring patterns of pupil absence carefully.