A CWMBRAN school is failing its pupils, its latest inspection has found.
Llantarnam School has been placed into special measures after assessors Estyn deemed both its current performance and prospects unsatisfactory.
A report out yesterday said the performance of pupils sitting GCSE and equivalent qualifications is significantly lower than that of similar schools and pupils do not make enough progress in literacy and learning skills.
Sixty five per cent of students got five or more GCSE’s at A* to C grade – the Welsh average is 65.4 per cent.
But the report said the behaviour, attitude to learning and social skills of the majority of pupils is poor and that too many teachers did not know how to manage bad behaviour properly.
The assessment of pupils’ work was also found to be inconsistent, which meant pupils did not have a clear understanding of how to improve.
Around eight per cent of youngsters who left the 1,310 - pupil school in 2011 are not in education, employment or training, which is higher than the Welsh average of 4.4 per cent and the local authority average of 6.7 per cent, the report says.
It found that the school had reported increasing incidents of bullying. Half of pupils said staff did not deal with the issue well enough.
A minority of youngsters were found to smoke in the school grounds and, though attendance had improved in the past year, a few youngsters still arrived late for lessons.
The school’s prospects for improving were also deemed unsatisfactory because plans to address issues in a number of areas were not well developed.
Senior leadership roles and responsibilities were not defined and strategies to manage social skills and pupil behaviour were inefficient.
Only a minority of lessons were planned well. The majority lacked pace and did not give pupils opportunity to develop thinking skills.
The school must now draw up an action plan. Estyn inspectors will continue to monitor the school each term until it has improved.
Torfaen’s executive member for children and young people, Cllr Mary Barnett, said: “The full report is now published but the initial feedback from inspectors was damning and required us to take immediate action.
“We met the head teacher and governing body this afternoon and listened carefully to their views on addressing standards of achievement.
“However difficult, pupils must always be our priority and a swift response with far-reaching actions is required to return this school to where it should be.
“The council provided the school with extra resources which helped the school achieve vastly improved results in English andMaths.
“We will work with the school to produce a detailed action plan to which they will be held accountable and from which we can consider any further action needed.”
Head: ‘We’ve started improvements’
IN A statement on the school’s website, head teacher David Bright described the result as “bitterly disappointing”.
He said: “We accept the recommendations and have taken immediate action; however, we believe some very general judgements are unfair.
“Since the last inspection, the school’s performance has improved at A-level and has shown significant improvement at Key Stage 3 and GCSE in 2012 (specifically in the core areas of English, mathematics and science). Such improvements are the result of better teaching than the inspectors witnessed in September, but I accept the inspectors saw us a long way from our best.
“With the support of the council and the education achievement service (EAS), we have already started making necessary improvements.
Specific issues such as health and safety, marking and behaviour were addressed immediately and these, together with proposals for a restructured school leadership team, will go to governors this week for approval.”
Mr Bright said an action plan for improvement was already being drawn up and the school would work with the council and EAS to demonstrate progress when Estyn re-visit next term.
A meeting will be arranged for parents to ask questions and voice any concerns, while details of the new procedures for improving behaviour will follow later this week, he said.
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