School turn-around praised by inspectors

PUBLISHED: 12:51 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 31 May 2010

Years three and four with headteacher Ian Pollard - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Years three and four with headteacher Ian Pollard - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

TEACHERS and staff at Great Sampford Primary School were celebrating this week after being included on Ofsted s outstanding schools list. The school received such a glowing write-up from inspectors at last year s review that it has featured on the school

TEACHERS and staff at Great Sampford Primary School were celebrating this week after being included on Ofsted's outstanding schools list.

The school received such a glowing write-up from inspectors at last year's review that it has featured on the school inspectorate's annual report of outstanding education providers.

Inspectors noted that it was "a very effective school, where every child is known and valued as an individual".

The school has overcome past critical reports, which stated that it had "serious weaknesses", to become one of the most highly regarded primaries in the area.

In 1999, the school was rated as "well below average" in its provision of maths, English and science. The following year, inspectors rated that its English and maths teaching were now "well above average", while its science teaching had improved to become "average".

The 2000 report said: "The significant improvement in results between 1999 and 2000 has been achieved through good teaching, better planning and more challenging work."

In the most recent report, the school was given an "outstanding" or "good" rating in every area, with particular credit being given to its focus on pupils' personal development and well-being.

Ofsted's Annual Report, which was released last week, has received criticism from teachers' unions for focusing on schools that are failing to provide satisfactory provision. Eight per cent of all schools were judged to be "inadequate" and secondary schools in particular received criticism, with more than one in eight being deemed unsatisfactory.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector Christine Gilbert, said: "More needs to be done, and swiftly, to reduce the number of secondary schools found to be inadequate."

Headteacher since September 1999, Ian Pollard, put the school's fantastic report down to hard work from everyone involved.

He said: "We're all absolutely delighted with this result. It's down to lots of hard work from staff, governors, parents and children, and we're now proud to be a happy, smiling, but above all successful, school.

"When I arrived Ofsted had declared it as having serious weaknesses. The academic standards and the work ethos of the children were both criticised, but we worked hard to overcome these problems.

"We built up the self-esteem of the children here and made them realise that it's important to learn, and important to be nice to one another. It's been a real team effort, all down to the great staff, children, board of governors and parents who were keen for the school to improve.

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