A VALLEYS primary school has been told by Estyn inspectors it must raise standards in reading and writing, after its performance was labelled “adequate”.

Roseheyworth Millennium Primary School in Abertillery, which has 162 pupils aged three to 11, was criticised in its recent Estyn report after inspectors found pupils’ performance had been lower than in similar schools over the last four years and many children’s reading and writing skills were not well developed.

Current performance was said to be “adequate”, out of the possible categories “excellent”, “good”, adequate” and “unsatisfactory”.

But the school was said to provide a high level of care, and support to pupils.

“Many pupils make good progress in their speaking and listening skills, often from a low starting point,” said the report, which described pupils as well behaved and courteous.

“The quality of teaching is consistently good and interesting, and relevant learning activities meet the needs of most pupils,” it said.

Prospects for improvement are good, inspectors found, because the head teacher provides “purposeful leadership and strategic direction to the work of the school”.

The report said recent improvement in teacher planning has led to greater consistency in developing pupils’ literacy, numeracy and IT skills, but “this has yet to impact fully on raising standards of reading and writing”.

“Provision to help pupils to develop their phonic skills is not consistent and systematic enough,” said the report. “This slows the progress in reading and spelling for many pupils of middle and lower ability.”

Inspectors recommended the school must raise standards so more pupils reach the level expected for their age at the end of the foundation phase and key stage 2; raise standards in reading; improve pupils’ writing across the curriculum; provide more opportunities for pupils to assess their own work; and increase the level of challenge provided by the governing body.

The school must draw up an action plan and Estyn will monitor its progress.