Sat, 02 Mar 2019
A NEWBURY primary school, which was heavily criticised by Ofsted less than three years ago, has completed a remarkable turnaround to be rated as outstanding by the education watchdog.
Pupils, staff and governors at Enborne Primary School are celebrating this week after it received the top grade following an inspection in January.
In September 2016, the school was judged as ‘requires improvement’.
At the time, inspectors noted that very few pupils were reaching high standards at the end of Key Stage 1 in English and mathematics, while the school’s leaders and governors were criticised for not paying enough attention to pupils’ achievements, including those with special educational needs.
However, in July 2017 the school began working jointly with Theale Primary School and started making rapid improvements.
Catherine Morley, headteacher at the Theale school, was appointed as Enborne’s executive headteacher and Tristan Whiteman as headteacher.
The latest report – which follows an inspection carried out on January 15 and 16, praised the pair’s “relentless effort” in ensuring that the needs of pupils lie at the heart of the curriculum, which was also highlighted as being “broad, balanced and creative”.
The teaching of the arts, especially dance, drama, music and art, was also identified as a strength of the school, while teachers’ high expectations of pupils ensured that all children make “excellent” progress from their different starting points.
Pupils were also noted as being “immensely proud” of their learning environment.
An extract from the inspection read: “Leaders have created a happy, nurturing and respectful environment.
“At the heart of this school is a spirit of kindness and pupils love coming here.
“Pupils gain confidence, build resilience and willingly support each other.
“They delight in celebrating each other’s successes.
“As one pupil said: ‘We may be a small school, but we are a big family’.”
Mr Whiteman said he was absolutely thrilled that the school’s many qualities had been recognised.
He added: “Staff and children have worked tremendously hard over the past few years to make the improvements needed and we are celebrating this outstanding judgement as the whole school community.
“I am proud that, despite the financial pressures we face, we have been praised for our broad, inspiring curriculum, our skilled specialist teachers and the happy, supportive learning environment we’ve created, where children flourish.”
Chair of governors Catie Colston added: “We want to pay tribute to the professionalism and dedication of Mr Whiteman and Mrs Morley.
“They have an extraordinary capacity to drive change and to turn around the school in such a short time is a remarkable achievement.”
West Berkshire Council’s portfolio holder for education and young people, Lynne Doherty (Con, Northcroft), said: “This is an excellent example of what high expectations and ambition can do for a school when coupled with strong leadership.
“The report is a reflection of what a team can achieve when focused on the needs of pupils in every area of their work.
“A huge congratulations to all involved.”