School goes from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ in just two years

Ofsted inspectors say good teaching and strong leadership have led to significant improvements at a Bideford primary school.

St Mary’s C of E Primary School has been rated as ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ elements by the education watchdog – just two years after it was told it needed to improve.

Four inspectors observed 22 lessons and saw the work of nine teachers during the unannounced visit in October.

Lead inspector Alexander Baxter said standards were rising quickly across the school because of ‘effective teaching’.

And he praised head teacher Adrian Scarrett’s ‘unwavering commitment’ to improve the school.

The report said: “The head teacher provides clarity of vision and a drive for improvement which, with strong support from his able senior team and well-informed governors, sustains good leadership and management.

“Leaders have worked tirelessly and with increasing success to improve the school since the previous inspection.”

While inspectors rated the school as ‘good’ in all areas, the early years provision was found to be ‘outstanding’ with the ‘expert’ phonics teaching singled out for praise.

It said: “The majority of children enter the reception classes with skills that are below those typical for their age.

“The outstanding teaching and consistently high expectations of staff lead to children behaving extremely well and making rapid progress.

As a result, the proportion of children achieving a good level of development across the areas of learning has not only continued to be above average, but has increased incrementally year-on-year since the previous inspection.”

Mr Scarrett said it had been ‘a long journey’ but he was delighted with the report.

“The whole school community has worked hard to provide a high quality experience for our children,” he said.

“I am grateful to the staff for their commitment to this and to our parents who have always maintained faith in the school and supported us in moving to this position.

“The children have also been a huge factor as they come to school ready to learn and prepared to work hard to improve themselves.

‘We are very proud of the work that goes on at St Mary’s and look forward to the challenge of extending on the outstanding judgement in our early years to ensure that our children will experience a consistently outstanding education across the whole school.”

To read the report in full, click here.