Ofsted praise for ‘good’ Northchapel school

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Children at Northchapel Primary School and Little Oaks Pre-School are celebrating after Ofsted inspectors gave them high praise in their recent inspection.

The report published last week found the school was in the ‘good’ category and inspectors said it ‘successfully places itself at the heart of the community and is valued by it’.

They said they felt the school had developed well since it became an all-through primary school.

“It has successfully retained its identity as a small school which promotes aspects of pupils’ personal development exceptionally well. Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding and they have excellent understanding of healthy lifestyles and how to stay safe.”

They said parents and carers were supportive of the school, recognising its ‘vibrant environment and positive ethos which valued each pupil as an individual. Consequently, pupils develop well personally and academically, and are well prepared for secondary education’.

The inspectors added: “The children work hard and achieve well across all their areas of learning because the activities planned for them are relevant to their experience and motivate them to find things out for themselves.

“Children get off to a good start in Little Oaks and Reception.”

Inspectors were particularly impressed with pupils’ attainment in English and maths which was above average overall ‘and performance at the higher levels is improving steadily’.

They said the school’s systems to identify gaps in pupils’ learning and set targets were embedded in everyday practice so pupils had a good understanding of the next steps they needed to take.

Although teaching was good throughout the school, inspectors said ‘sometimes learning aims or success criteria shared with pupils are rather broad and not sufficiently focused on the small learning steps to be achieved within the lesson’.

New headteacher Sarah Palmer brought ‘first-rate experience’ to the school, and had an astute overview of the school’s performance.

To improve further, the inspectors’ report said Northchapel needed to ensure all teaching was good or better ‘and thereby raise pupils’ attainment particularly in literacy and numeracy’.

Mrs Palmer, said: “We are all very pleased with the report which acknowledges the many strengths of the school. Northchapel is a very special school and pre-school.”