‘Welcoming’ village school completes turnaround after inspection

A VILLAGE school has completed a turnaround in fortunes with a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted.

The education watchdog visited “inclusive and welcoming” Hawkesbury C of E Primary School in Hawkesbury Upton in September.

The inspection came four years on from the regulator’s previous visit, after which Ofsted said it required improvement.

Inspectors Wendy D’Arcy and Marcia Northeast said the school, which has just 79 pupils aged from four to 11 is now ‘good’ in all areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, and early years provision.

The report, published in October, said: “The school has been relentless in their drive to make the necessary improvements since the last inspection.

“The curriculum is well designed and ambitious for all pupils.

“In most subjects, the important knowledge pupils need to learn and remember has been set out. “This means that pupils build their knowledge well over time.”

Quoting the school’s vision statement, the inspectors said: “‘Enabling everyone to flourish’ sits at the very heart of Hawkesbury Church of England Primary School.

“The school is inclusive and welcoming.

“Parents appreciate the nurturing environment and positive relationships between pupils and adults.

“Staff form caring relationships with pupils and know them and their families well.

“Pupils feel safe and know that adults are there to help them.”

The report said most adults at the school had high expectations of pupils, and gave them well-established routines to follow.

Pupils are ‘proud of their school’

They said: “Pupils are polite and well mannered. They hold doors open for adults and are proud of their school. Pupils of all ages play well together during social times.

“Pupils enjoy the many opportunities they have to take on leadership responsibilities across the school. They fulfil their role as worship warriors, house captains and mental health champions with maturity.

“Pupils understand the importance of looking after each other and being kind.”

The inspectors said use of assessment information was good in maths and phonics, to identify gaps in knowledge so the curriculum could be adapted.

They said: “The school ensures that reading is a high priority. The new and effective phonics programme supports pupils to learn to read well.”

Ofsted said that to improve further, the school needed to identify the key knowledge teachers want pupils to know in some of the “wider subjects” where the curriculum is new.

The inspectors also praised the opportunities given to pupils to learn outside the curriculum, including first-aid training, learning a musical instrument in school, archery, cross country and a choir.

They said pupils recognised the importance of inclusion and spoke positively about the school’s “‘no outsiders’ assembly”.

Inspection recognises positive aspects of ‘wonderful school’

Executive head teacher Mike Riches said: “I am so pleased with the outcome of our recent inspection.

“It recognises so many of the positive aspects of our wonderful school.

“The school community has worked tirelessly to secure this fantastic result over the past four years.

“I am grateful to everyone for all they have done: staff, parents, governors and children.”