Leadership helps pupils progress

THE OUTSTANDING leadership and excellent care, guidance and support children receive at a Barnstaple primary school results in good academic achievement, say education inspectors.

Ofsted inspectors say Forches Cross Primary and Nursery is a good school, with a raft of outstanding features.

Three inspectors from the school standards agency spent two days at Forches Cross last month and their report has just been published.

“Pupils achieve well and learning and progress in lessons are good,” say the inspectors. They really enjoy school and all that it offers. The value added to pupils’ learning is significantly better than that achieved by most schools in a similar context.”

Out of 28 separate judgements on life at the 187-pupil school, eight are outstanding, 17 are good and three satisfactory.

The inspectors say children start school with attainment well below that expected of their age group. But, by the time they reach Year 6, their achievement is good and they are attaining nationally expected standards.

“Teaching and learning are consistently good throughout the school and effective in raising pupils’ attainment,” says lead inspector Stephen Dennett.

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Pupils get off to a good start in the Early Years Foundation Stage where behaviour is good and the children work well together. Throughout the school the effectiveness of the care, guidance and support is outstanding and a major strength.

“Outcomes for children are good because they thrive in the caring and well-organised environment,” says Mr Dennett. “All pupils clearly enjoy learning and say they feel exceptionally safe and secure at school. Their good behaviour ensures a positive ethos and teachers provide exciting and engaging lessons. Pupils who have special educational needs make exceptional progress and all pupils – particularly the more able – are given tasks that challenge them well.”

Mr Dennett says the leadership of the school by head teacher Paul Wisken and the governing body shows outstanding success in raising standards and improving provision.

“There is excellent engagement with parents and the school makes outstanding use of its other partnerships to promote learning and pupils’ well-being. The head and governing body demonstrate determination and ambition to improve the school still further,” he says.

To do this, the school should raise pupils’ attainment in writing, provide more opportunities for pupils to explore the multicultural nature of the UK and improve attendance.

Mr Wisken said: “We are all really pleased the inspectors highlighted our continuing improvements and commented on our outstanding practice.

“This report is a considerable improvement on the ‘good’ report we had in 2007 and is a big step towards our ultimate ambition of being judged an outstanding school overall. This report is great for the community and a credit to the staff and other professionals who support our school. I would like to thank everyone for all their support and commitment for the school, the local community and, most of all, the children of Forches Cross estate.”

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