ATTENDANCE at a Pontpool primary school shows “little sign of improvement” and staff are uncertain of child protection procedures, the schools inspectorate, Estyn, has said as it placed the school under monitoring.

The 593-pupil New Inn Primary School has one of the lowest school budgets per pupil in Torfaen, at 27th out of 29 schools, but the school’s performance “has strengths that outweigh areas for improvement”, inspectors said.

Both its current performance and prospects for improvement were dubbed “adequate” but outcomes were found to be “good”.

Inspectors will now visit more regularly to check whether or not recommendations are being put in place.

According to the most recent Estyn inspection report, published last week, most pupils develop literacy and numeracy skills in line with their age and ability; have a positive attitude to their work and show high levels of responsibility; and behaviour is good.

The school is a fully inclusive community where “all are treated equally and with respect”, and a recent focus on improving the learning environment has “provided more stimulating and exciting opportunities for pupils to learn”, inspectors found.

But attendance has been in the bottom quartile for similar schools for the last two years and shows “little sign of improvement”, they said, adding that there are inconsistencies in practice in providing feedback to pupils.

Staff are uncertain of child protection procedures, and reports to parents in Years 3 to 6 do not meet requirements, the report found.

It said the head teacher has begun to create a culture of school improvement, there are effective systems in place for performance management, and the head teacher and senior leaders have begun to evaluate more rigorously the school’s standards and provision.

But senior leaders have not had enough time to embed initiatives fully to measure impact, and the governing body does not challenge the school well enough as a critical friend.

Inspectors said the school was to be placed under Estyn monitoring and must improve pupils’ standards in Welsh and attendance; ensure teachers plan and deliver activities suitable for all abilities; improve the consistency and quality of feedback to pupils; make sure that all staff are confident in dealing with child protection issues; ensure that self-evaluation is based securely on a wide range of evidence; and address the shortcoming in key stage 2 reports to parents.