OFSTED says a primary school requires improvement because pupils “have not had the quality of education they deserve”.

Copthorne CofE Junior School in Church Road, Crawley was previously rated as good before the Ofsted visit in March 2022.

The report by lead inspector Lea Hannam and Kirstine Boon says pupils are “happy and safe” and “show great compassion and respect for each other”.

While inspectors found that it was good for behaviour and attitudes, and personal development, it rated the school as requiring improvements for the quality of education, and leadership and management.

They said children have not had the quality of education they deserve and there is much to do to ensure that pupils learn as well as they should.

The report said: “Some subjects were not taught, or not taught well enough, in the past. 

“The partial school closures caused by the pandemic have also affected pupils’ learning. 

“This means that pupils have gaps in their knowledge. 

“The system to check on how well pupils are learning does not always tell teachers what they need to know. 

“Teachers know what to teach and when to teach it. However, sometimes, teachers do not teach the mathematics curriculum in the way that leaders expect. 

“This happens in other subjects too, with teachers planning lessons that are enjoyable but are not tied closely to what pupils need to understand and remember. This slows pupils’ learning. 

The report says pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) get the support they need with their work. 

Leaders identify needs accurately and address these through carefully considered individual targets. 

However, the gaps in curriculum thinking and delivery hinder pupils with SEND from achieving as well as they could. 

Inspectors also found that school leaders have started to review the curriculum for some subjects, but the work is not finished.

Pupils now study a balanced curriculum and enjoy reading and listening to stories. 

The school makes sure that pupils learn about looking after their mental health, and supports them in their personal development. 

The report states: “A few staff voiced concerns about workload, as many changes are being made.

“Nevertheless, staff appreciate the changes that leaders are making, with one member of staff calling them ‘refreshing’.”

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Since her arrival, the new headteacher, who joined in September 2021, has prioritised ensuring the school does all it can to keep pupils safe.

In its list of improvements, inspectors advised the school should ensure that the curriculum is developed as a matter of priority and that staff are well trained to teach it successfully.

Leaders, including subject leaders, need to make sure that they have identified the key knowledge pupils must retain and that teachers know how to check it has been learned. 

Teachers are advised to focus on children’s “knowledge gaps” from what they missed during lockdowns.

There is more to do to “fine-tune adults’ understanding of peer-on-peer abuse," say inspectors.