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Wrexham primary school placed into special measures

A WREXHAM primary school has been placed in special measures.

The Welsh Government’s education inspectorate Estyn visited Minera Voluntary Aided Primary School in March and has published a report explaining why the action has been taken.

Reasons include a lack of progress in pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills, and leaders not monitoring work closely enough whilst staffing changes led to a period of uncertainty, according to the inspectors.

But the behaviour of pupils did receive praise, as did the caring community the school provides and the opportunities for students to learn through trips and visits.

An overview of the report published by Estyn states: “Most pupils start Minera Primary School with weak literacy and numeracy skills. From these starting points and over time they do not make sufficient progress in the development of these skills, particularly in the development of writing.

“Nearly all pupils behave well, and most younger pupils engage enthusiastically in the outdoor learning environment where they begin to learn through exploration. The school has begun to develop its curriculum in line with Curriculum for Wales based around a range of themes.

“Teachers are starting to enhance learning suitably through a range of trips and visits.

“However, provision for the progressive development of key skills such as literacy and numeracy is underdeveloped. As a result, the majority of pupils do not progress as well as they should in these areas.”

The report adds: “Following a period of staffing change and uncertainty leaders have put in place a new leadership structure. These roles are at an early stage of development.

“Leaders have begun to work with staff to address a few improvement priorities including reading and ALN (additional learning needs). However, generally, leaders have not monitored the school’s work carefully enough. As a result, they do not identify important aspects of the school’s provision and teaching that require improvement.”

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At a meeting of Wrexham Council’s lifelong learning scrutiny committee, chief officer for education Karen Evans said: “Unfortunately Estyn have deemed that the school should be given the category of special measures.

“If you read the report in detail there are many, many positives that need to be celebrated and noted, and obviously areas for improvement.”

She added that representatives from the school would be invited to attend a monitoring group meeting to set the context of the report.

A series of recommendations have been made to the school by Estyn for the future which are to;

  • Improve leadership at all levels ensuring that self-evaluation and school improvement actions focus on identifying and addressing the key improvements in teaching and learning
  • Improve the quality of teaching and assessment to ensure that pupils make appropriate progress, particularly in writing
  • Improve the curriculum and provision for the progressive development of pupils’ skills

With the school now in special measures, an action plan will be drawn up to show how it is going to address the recommendations.

Estyn will continue to monitor the school’s progress every four to six months.