Inspectors say Savannah performance remains weak

Teaching and student performance remain problems, although inspectors said leadership has improved

A follow-up inspection at Savannah Primary School concluded the performance of teachers and students at the school remains weak.

The Office of Education Standards released its latest evaluation of the school on Friday.

Inspectors for the office determined that Savannah had made satisfactory progress on only two of six recommendations it had been given as part of the previous inspection in February.

The inspection report said teaching quality at the school remains a problem.

“There had been no significant improvement in the quality of teaching overall since the last inspection,” inspectors reported. “Around one third of the lessons observed by inspectors were judged to be weak.

“There were too few instances of good teaching and far too many instances of weak teaching in English,” they added.

The report noted there has been some intervention by the new principal, Delton Pedley, and the senior management team at the school, but the process has not yet been completed.

Leadership was one of the areas in which the school had made satisfactory progress.

“The principal had an accurate understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses and had taken appropriate steps to address areas identified in the last inspection report,” the inspectors said.

Pedley said he thought the assessment of teaching at Savannah was fair, but added that a number of new staff and implementation of the new curriculum were factors impacting that assessment. He said he is in the midst of helping his staff transition to a new leadership group – the school also has a new deputy principal and counsellor – and on galvanising the teachers around a clear mission.

They are also dealing with everyday problems. One major issue is student discipline.

“Behaviour is part of the reason teaching is judged the way it was judged,” Pedley said. “We do have a few challenging students.”

Inspectors found it to be a widespread problem.

“Teachers were regularly prevented from delivering the main content of lessons as they spent a significant amount of time managing disruption,” the report said.

While specific guidelines for behaviour and prescribed consequences for violating those guidelines do exist, teachers did not consistently enforce them, inspectors said.

“The poor behaviour of a number of students disrupted learning in classes,” they said. “Inspectors noted that teachers were not consistent in their management of behaviour or in their implementation of [discipline] strategies.”

Pedley said he has met with the parents of unruly students and plans follow-up meetings “to take it to the next level”, adding, “We have to be consistent and determined.”

Teachers also faced additional hurdles due to the newly implemented primary curriculum. Not all students were ready for the shift to a more demanding regimen.

“In mathematics, classwork was planned with due regard to the new curriculum standards, and this presented some challenge to a number of students because they began the year at a relatively low starting point,” the report said.

Pedley said additional lessons are being provided to students both in the classroom and in after-school programmes to help bring them up to speed.

He added that he thinks inspectors will find improved performance when they return in six months.

“I’m confident things will be better,” he said. “I’m very hopeful.”

 

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