A NORTH DEVON primary school has won plaudits from education inspectors, who judged almost every area of school life as outstanding. In a highly unusual accolade, Appledore Primary School was rated outstanding in 23 of the 27 areas inspected and good in t

A NORTH DEVON primary school has won plaudits from education inspectors, who judged almost every area of school life as outstanding.In a highly unusual accolade, Appledore Primary School was rated outstanding in 23 of the 27 areas inspected and good in the rest.Inspectors from the school standards agency Ofsted concluded: "Leaders and managers put pupils firmly at the heart of this totally inclusive school."In a short inspection carried out on schools considered by Ofsted to be high-performing, lead inspector David Shears noted that pupils arrive with levels of skill and knowledge that are below those expected of children their age. But their outstanding progress throughout the school means they leave with standards that are above the national average."The pastoral care and support they receive is outstanding, ensuring that individual needs are catered for," said Mr Shears. The report says: "The obvious enjoyment of pupils is partly due to the excellent curriculum they receive. They learn through many first-hand experiences and these, together with the excellent guidance and support, promote the development of their reading, writing and mathematical skills." The report also pays tribute to the outdoor environment, which Mr Shears says is superbly used as a learning opportunity, as well as a recreational area which contributes well to pupils' spiritual, moral and social development. This is underpinned by a good focus on the social and emotional aspects of learning -an initiative that is widely acknowledged as an area of excellence in the school.Head teacher Susan Freeman is described as 'dedicated' and the report says she and the management team have an excellent understanding of their strengths and a clear vision of where they want to improve.Mr Shears notes that the school has successfully raised the standards of boys' writing and maths among the more able pupils. It makes good use of assessment to track pupils' progress individually and clearly identify those who need further support.Relationships between staff and pupils are said to be excellent, resulting in the pupils having a very positive attitude to their work and school in general. They thoroughly enjoy coming to school and feel safe, knowing that adults look after them well. Attendance is above the national average.Susan Freeman said: "We are delighted to receive this recognition of the hard work and long term commitment of all members of the school community - teachers, support staff, governors, parents and, not least, the children - to foster our school as an environment where children can relish their childhood, learn life-long skills and develop their own individual gifts and talents.