Poor Ofsted result due to academic decline, not 'tumultuous past'


Rosh Pinah's "inadequate" Ofsted result came as "no surprise" given the decline in pupils' achievement data since its previous inspection in 2009, but it is not reflective of the school's current circumstance, according to its chairman of governors.

Andrew Rotenberg spoke after it was announced that the Edgware primary school had been given the lowest of the four inspection grades after its Ofsted inspection in January.

"They told us they could see green shoots and the prediction of progress," he said. "While they put that in their narrative, they cannot alter their rating based on predictions."

Inspectors marked the school two grades lower than the "good" rating it earned in its last inspection in 2009.

They noted that "pupils are not working at the levels they should be" and that the quality of teaching and its effect on pupils' learning had "declined considerably" across years one to six since the previous inspection in 2009.

They also took issue with student performance in writing and science, saying they "make especially slow progress", while teachers' marking did "not consistently help pupils to identify where they have gone wrong and how to improve".

In addition, they said that "those who have special educational needs make inadequate progress".

But according to Mr Rotenberg, the outcome of the inspection was largely due to the decline in pupils' achievement which started in 2010 and resulted in the school being placed on Barnet's "Schools Causing Concern" in July 2013.

While the fallout of "the tumult that took place in 2013" has affected the school's ability to turn around the school as quickly as he would have wanted, Mr Rotenberg was adamant that it was not the main factor in the school's Ofsted result.

Two years ago, former headteacher Anthony Wolfson resigned amid a period of unrest and disputes between parents and governors. Mr Rotenberg became chairman of governors after the parent-led Rosh Pinah Action Group (RPAG) complained of dissatisfaction with the then-chair Barbara Hotz and her fellow governors.

A trio of executive teachers from Lilac Sky Schools - a private educational group - were then brought in to turn the school around. They officially took over last September, with Angela Gartland becoming headteacher.

"Lilac Sky, who I call the 'swat team', were brought in specifically because they have special expertise in turning around schools that face challenges," Mr Rotenberg said.

"If you look at the Ofsted report, it goes to great pains to say that the strengths of the school are Lilac Sky and the governing body."

Mr Rotenberg said he understood that "parents were frustrated and upset", adding: "There has been a reaffirmation of complete transparency by the school to keep parents informed."

As an afterthought, the chairman voiced his concern that not enough families were paying their voluntary contributions to the school.

"Only 49 per cent pay their voluntary contributions in full," he said. "This not only covers Jewish studies, but also our security upgrades, and 20 per cent of our fixed costs.

"Everyone supports the school turning around, but if we don't have money to operate, then it doesn't matter how good our teaching is. We won't be able to turn the lights on."

The Ofsted result was followed by a Pikuach inspection, which took place earlier this week.

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