Parents need to take greater role

PARENTS need to take a greater role in improving their children's attendance at a Great Yarmouth school, Ofsted inspectors have said. The education watchdog found a minority of pupils at Cobholm Primary School had high absence rates and that a few parents did not respond to “the school's considerable efforts to improve attendance,” meaning some children could not take advantage of their education.

PARENTS need to take a greater role in improving their children's attendance at a Great Yarmouth school, Ofsted inspectors have said.

The education watchdog found a minority of pupils at Cobholm Primary School had high absence rates and that a few parents did not respond to “the school's considerable efforts to improve attendance,” meaning some children could not take advantage of their education.

Ofsted said the 140-pupil school should continue to work with parents to improve the attendance rates of those pupils who “have a significant amount of unnecessary absence.”

Overall Cobholm Primary was judged as a satisfactory and improving school which was “realistic about its current effectiveness and the challenges it has faced over the past few years.”

In recent years the school has suffered staffing problems which have now stabilised and it had faced challenges becoming a full primary school as part of a reorganisation of the schools system in Norfolk.

Ofsted said the schools energetic staff team were led by an “able and determined headteacher” and that the team had made a “concerted effort to raise standards and plan for further development.” Inspectors said there strong enthusiasm and commitment for the future.

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Parents' views of the school are overwhelmingly positive. One commented: “It is nice to see so many changes happening to improve the happy environment for the children.”

Pupils' achievements were judged as satisfactory, although many children did not reach the national average because of their low starting points. Children enjoy their education and benefit from links with other schools such as Cliff Park High School in Gorleston and they have regular meetings with representatives from the police and fire service.

Teaching was found to be at least satisfactory, with the number of good lessons increasing. The school recently introduced a new system of how teachers track and assess pupils' progress which has allowed staff to plan lessons more efficiently although its impact on achievement would not been known until the new system had run a little longer.

Ofsted said improvements were needed in the training and recruiting of school governors who, at the moment, “were not in a position to carry out their role as 'critical friends' in the schools development.”

The report said governors needed to play a more effective role in the management of the school and that revised systems assessing achievement were followed in order to raise standards.

Headteacher Julie Risby said: “The school is very pleased with the report. There have been lots of changes and new initiatives to help improve standards. The staff work really hard as a team and they know pupils as individuals and support all their needs.”

Mrs Risby said absence was an issue for many schools in Yarmouth and that it would continue to work with parents to improve attendance.

She added a building project planned for the school later this year would “make a tremendous difference.”