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West Belfast's St John the Baptist Primary School exits ‘special measures'

St John the Baptist Primary School in west Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

A PROMINENT west Belfast primary school has been removed from 'special measures'.

St John the Baptist PS entered the formal intervention process in May 2015 after receiving a performance grade of "inadequate".

Staff absences had shot up to four times the Northern Ireland average.

The inspection team also flagged serious issues relating to leadership and management, accommodation and health and safety. Both the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and INTO teachers' union said they had problems with the inspection report, however.

INTO said current staff were being penalised for historical matters beyond their control, adding that absence rates had improved significantly.

Almost all teaching observed was "good or better", but it was issues with leadership and management that caused it to fall into the inadequate bracket.

Inspectors returned to the school in the spring this year, and it exited the formal intervention process at the end of October after improvements were made and issues raised by the inspection addressed. The follow-up inspection report has not yet been made public.

The co-educational school opened in 2011 following the amalgamation of the separate St John the Baptist Boys' and Girls' schools on Finaghy Road North.

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