New head aims for fresh start for Castle Primary after 'very disappointing' SATs results

December 23 2018

The head teacher of Castle Primary in Keynsham says the school’s latest SATs results are “very disappointing” and that he is looking at ways to “rapidly improve the situation”.

Chris Cannings, who joined the school in September, was speaking to Keynshamvoice following the publication of the latest primary school tables, which showed just 17 per cent of pupils at Castle met the expected standard in the 2018 Key Stage 2 tests sat by 11-year-olds in the summer.

Across England the percentage of pupils meeting the expected standard was 64 per cent, while in Bath and North East Somerset it was 66 per cent.

Mr Cannings said: “The 2018 KS2 results are clearly very disappointing and are not what the school wants for its pupils. However, I want give parents my full reassurance that we are committed to making sure every pupil gets the good primary education they deserve and the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We are seeking the support of the whole school community – staff, parents, governors and our enthusiastic children to achieve this.

“Many parents of children in the school are already aware there have been a lot of contributing factors, including frequent changes in staff affecting the quality and consistency of teaching, combined with leadership changes which have meant the lack of a planned response to issues affecting the school in recent years. In many ways, we are a new team with new people in key areas, including myself, having taken up the role of head teacher in September. We are identifying all ways possible to rapidly improve the situation and have ambitious plans for our school. This includes a major focus on improving the quality of teaching and the overall education we offer.”

Castle Primary is currently rated “requires improvement” by Ofsted and governors are consulting with families on proposals to convert to academy status by joining the Bath and Mendip Partnership Trust to increase the support available to the school.

At the same time, families are being asked for their views on changing the school’s name as it enters a new phase potentially as an academy and with the opening of a new building, as the primary expands to accommodate up to 420 pupils. In a letter to families, Mr Cannings and chair of governors Chrissie Arnold said: “A new name would give the school the chance to have a new start, with a new building, a new name and being part of a multi-academy trust.”

Mr Cannings told Keynshamvoice: “Our new building is ready for our Reception and Year 1 pupils to move into in January. It has four amazing new classrooms and a hall. We hope these new facilities and joining a multi-academy trust in 2019, where we will benefit from the support and challenge of a family of like-minded schools, will add impetus on our journey to improve.”

The percentage of pupils meeting expected standards in their SATs at other local schools were: Chandag, 62%; Saltford CofE, 84%; St John’s CofE, 73%; and St Keyna, 64%.