A primary school given a ‘requires improvement’ grade by Ofsted just two years ago has completed an amazing turnaround and is now classed as ‘outstanding’.
In a report published this week, inspectors said Great Casterton Primary School was staffed by outstanding teachers who are worthy role models for other schools.
Leaders fully support the headteacher’s high expectations, the governing body understands the school well, and pupils make considerable progress as they move through each stage in the school.
Achievement is outstanding, pupils behave very well, and care for those with special educational needs or disabilities is highly effective.
The report was written following a two-day visit by Ofsted inspectors at the end of June.
Lead inspector Aune Turkson-Jones, said: “Pupils have exceptionally positive attitudes to learning and behave well.
“Attendance has risen and remains consistently high. This shows the great value that pupils place on being in school and lies at the heart of their many successes.
“Parents are actively involved in the life of the school and frequently come in to help their children learn. Parents’ support and praise for the school is exceptionally positive, with many commenting directly on the impact of the executive headteacher.”
Governors were said to “ask sharp, challenging questions about achievement and provide high quality support”.
Executive headteacher Anne Platt spoke of her joy at receiving an outstanding rating. She said: “I’m overwhelmed by the support I have had from pupils, staff, parents and governors to get to this stage.
“Back in 2014 the school was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating – and a two-year journey has led to the report out this week.
“I took over in August last year and continued the superb work to turn around the school which had already been started by my deputy, Sally Gooding, and my predecessor Claire Rowbotham who was head for the 2014/15 academic year.”
Mrs Platt said rigorous performance management was the key to the dramatic turnaround – holding staff to account and setting them targets for the end of each term.
Great Casterton Primary School is in a federation with Empingham Primary School. They share a headteacher and governing body.
Empingham was also inspected by Ofsted in June and received a ‘good’ rating. In a letter to Mrs Platt, inspector Martin Finch wrote: “The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection.
“Since your appointment you have focused on improving the quality of teaching and learning to good effect. Pupils are making good progress in their learning and are achieving well.”
Pupils are said to display positive attitudes to their learning and outcomes at the end of Year 6 are said to be significantly above national averages for all subjects.
Leaders and governors have now been tasked with ensuring pupils apply their writing skills consistently across the curriculum and giving them more opportunities to investigate in science.
In celebration of the results the church bells of Great Casterton and Empingham will be rung at the harvest festivals on September 15 and 16 respectively.
Mrs Platt added: “On behalf of the governors I wish to thank all pupils, parents and staff for such superb results.
“We are extremely proud of the federation’s achievements and it is gratifying to have them acknowledged in the Ofsted reports.”