A primary school has been told it requires improvement after inspectors found that too many pupils had gaps in their knowledge.

St Michael’s Primary School in Withyam near Crowborough was praised for being “welcoming and caring” but was told that too many pupils were not achieving as well as they could.

The school’s headteacher said they “take school improvement seriously “and praised additional funding for the school but also raised concerns about the “blunt” inspection process.

The Ofsted inspection report released on Thursday states pupils behave well and feel safe and confident in confiding in adults.

However, it added: “Too many pupils have gaps in their knowledge and understanding in subjects beyond reading and mathematics.

“Furthermore, as the content of learning is not clear, teachers do not routinely check what pupils know and remember. As such, teachers do not recognise and address gaps in pupils’ learning consistently. This means that too many pupils do not achieve as well as they could in some subjects.”

The report did stress that the school was “ready to address the improvements needed to strengthen the ambition for pupils in all subjects”.


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The school was rated “Requires Improvement” for the quality of the education and the leadership and management of the school but was rated “Good” in all other categories.

In response to the report, Catherine O’Shea, headteacher of St Michael’s, said: “We were really pleased with the positive comments in the Ofsted report for St Michael’s including the school being welcoming and caring.

“Staff are continuing to develop our border curriculum to match our noted strengths in English and Maths and high-quality early years provision.

“We require more time than we initially anticipated to review our curriculum because as a small rural school we are being adversely affected by the wider funding issues facing all schools.

“We are thrilled that recognising these challenges - and in support of our ambitious plans - we have been given additional funding by East Sussex County Council.

“Additionally, national media are reporting issues with the inspection process and the blunt one or two-word judgments fronting every Ofsted report. Regardless of these concerns about Ofsted we take school improvement seriously.”