Two Ely schools are celebrating after getting a prestigious “good” rating by OfSTED inspectors.
Ely St Mary’s C of E Junior School and The Lantern Community Primary School have both been rated as “good” in all areas following recent inspections by OfSTED (the Office for Standards in Education).
OfSTED praised St Mary’s headteacher Rebecca Ireland-Curtis, saying she’d provided “focused and determined leadership”, leading to improvements in the quality of teaching and pupil’s outcomes.
The Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), which runs the school, was also commended following a visit by Ofsted to the High Barns junior school on October 11 and 12.
The report said: “The school’s capacity for further improvement is good. Middle leaders have a good understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development. They have clear plans to bring about change and make further improvements.
“Inspectors said the school benefitted well from the support of DEMAT, which provides resources, specialist consultants and effective training programmes for staff.
“The Trust enables teachers to work with colleagues from other schools within the Trust, including the local secondary school. This has improved the quality of teaching, pupils’ outcomes and the transition for pupils moving on to Year 7,” the report said.
Governors were also praised, with inspectors saying they had high aspirations for the school and were aware of its strengths and weaknesses, as well as holding the leadership team to account in their pursuit of rapid progress.
Leaders had established a culture where pupils were kept safe: “Pupils say they feel safe at school and are confident that staff will quickly resolve any issues or concerns they may have.”
Teaching was good overall because of a greater consistency of practice throughout the school, together with increasingly high expectations of pupils.
“Teachers have developed positive relationships with pupils, based on a good knowledge of pupils’ individual strengths and weaknesses,” the report added.
Inspectors said pupils cared for each other, enjoyed coming to school and behaved well.
Headteacher Rebecca Ireland-Curtis said: “We are extremely pleased to have received this report from OfSTED. It celebrates the journey we have come on so far, and we are looking forward to continuing to ensure that our children receive the very best in their education.”
Andrew Read, Chief Executive of DEMAT added: “I am delighted that inspectors recognised the hard work of all the staff and children at the school, and the contribution of the trust to helping make this such a successful school.”
OfSTED said attainment was below the national standards in reading, writing and mathematics, at the end of key stage 2 in 2016. However, rapid progress has been made since then “so that in most subjects pupils typically work at a level which is similar to, or better than, the expectations for their age group”.
The school was encouraged to improve its teaching of mathematics, and to ensure that the most able pupils were sufficiently challenged in all lessons.
Meanwhile The Lantern Community Primary School has retained its “good” rating following a short OfSTED visit by inspector Cindy Impey on October 31.
Headteacher Paul Baddeley was praised for continuing to focus on pupil achievement during a period of time that saw leadership and staffing changes, which included Mr Baddeley helping to lead Downham Feoffees Primary Academy part time. OfSTED also praised deputy headteacher David Lawrence and the rest of the Lantern’s leadership team.
“There is a warm, caring ethos throughout the school community. Pupil’s behaviour is exemplary, demonstrated by their attitudes to learning and pride in their work.”
The students that the inspector spoke to were described as “delightful and polite” in a letter addressed to Mr Baddeley and published on OfSTED’s website.
“Their responses to my questions were both mature and insightful. They shared their aspirations to achieve great things when they are older, telling me they want to be scientists, architects and doctors.”
Since its last inspection The Lantern had taken steps to prioritise disadvantaged pupils by developing a nurture group to support vulnerable students in a bid to boost their confidence and self-esteem.
“When pupils from this group re-integrate into whole-class learning during the morning session, they settle into work quickly and engage well in their learning. In this way you have successfully raised the achievement of disadvantaged pupils so that they make progress in line with other pupils nationally in reading, writing and mathematics.”
The inspector was particularly impressed by how strongly the Nene Road primary school was supported by its parents, who gave incredibly positive feedback in person and online.
“Parents are extremely happy with the progress their children are making and equally complimentary about the support that teachers and leaders provide for pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities and those who find school challenging at times.”
The inspector was also impressed by how the school had managed its safeguarding arrangements.
“Pupils were able to explain what the term ‘bullying’ means and said that it does not happen at the school… Pupils also told me that they feel very safe at school and know whom to speak to if they have any concerns.”
The inspector also visited Goslings Pre-School, which caters for the school’s youngest children, and said the school’s focus on writing began at pre-school, where children had access to clipboards and pens to encourage writing during activities, such as at Forest School sessions.