THE head teacher at a York primary said she was working hard to make the most of pupils’ potential after the school dropped down the Ofsted rankings.

Park Grove School, in The Groves, has been rated as “needs improvement” under the new, tougher Ofsted framework, down on the previous report in 2008 which scored the school as good.

Head teacher Jo Sawyer said: “I’m pleased that the inspectors recognise that we’re working hard to put the right actions in place to realise all our pupils’ potential and that, in time, their full impact will be felt.

“They recognised our ‘rigorous agenda to drive up standards’ which we put in action earlier this year underpinning priorities they agreed are the right ones to secure improvement.

“This includes investing in extra teaching and professional advice, appointing a first-rate special educational needs co-ordinator and a pupil support team.

“We’re also developing our newly-appointed lead governors as well as our new subject leaders and senior leadership team. We’re prepared and committed to following our plan to take the school and pupils to the next level.”

After a visit in November inspectors found pupils’ achievement required improvement in the early years and Key Stage 1 because, over recent years, progress, including for pupils with special educational needs and the more able, had been too slow and pupils have fallen behind.

They also found the governing body was not holding the school to account and leading its direction well enough.

But inspectors praised Ms Sawyer, who took over last year, saying: “The new head teacher has already begun to make needed improvements.

“She has introduced effective systems to improve the quality of teaching and the progress pupils make. Priorities for development are the right ones and are being rigorously pursued.”

Maxine Squire, interim assistant director of education at City of York Council, said: “It is recognised that the present Ofsted framework is the most rigorous one yet, and is significantly different from the one used when the school was last inspected in 2008.

"While Ofsted has judged the school to be requiring improvement, it has highlighted the contribution made by the head teacher to leading improvement since she arrived in April.”

Janet Jacobi, a parent of two pupils, said: “Jo Sawyer really has a clear vision and this was picked up many times in the inspection and will now take the school forward. I believe with the staff, parents and children behind her, it is a win, win situation and I am so happy our children have years ahead of them at Park Grove School to gain the full benefit. I am now actually really excited for Park Grove.”