West Down school 'outstanding' for fourth time

A NORTH DEVON primary has won the highest possible praise from education inspectors after being judged outstanding for the fourth time in succession. Just 15 per cent of schools across the country are generally judged outstanding by the school standards

A NORTH DEVON primary has won the highest possible praise from education inspectors after being judged outstanding for the fourth time in succession.

Just 15 per cent of schools across the country are generally judged outstanding by the school standards agency Ofsted.

It says the outcomes of all learners at West Down Primary School, near Ilfracombe are outstanding and the school's approach to safeguarding its pupils is exemplary.

Ofsted says in every lesson at West Down there is a buzz of purposeful activity with pupils' attention riveted on what they are learning.


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Lead inspector Laurie Lewin said: "The main pulse of the school, driven by the head teacher, is one that inspires staff to ensure that all individuals, no matter what their problems are, do not 'slip through the net', but instead achieve the best they can."

He says the pupils themselves best described the school's all-pervading ethos when they told him: "We are like one big family. We are very sheltered here. We all look after each other."

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And Mr Lewin concludes: "And they do."

Delighted head teacher Sandra Clement, who has worked at West Down for 16 years and been head since 2004, said the hugely successful report was a team effort.

"Obviously we are thrilled to receive this accolade," she said.

"This is our fourth "outstanding" and maintaining excellent standards can be difficult when the bar is being constantly moved in education.

"The "outstanding school" grading is a true reflection of all that is special about West Down and we will continue to provide the high quality care, guidance and support for all pupils as quoted in the report."

Mr Lewin says that children get off to a flying start at West Down in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

High quality teaching and a wide-ranging and exciting diet of activities ensures the children make outstanding progress and become confident and enthusiastic learners.

In the rest of the school the pupils continue to make good and sometimes exceptional progress and are recording above average standards by the time they reach the end of Year 6.

"Lessons throughout the school show that teachers have an innate understanding of how pupils' learning is best encouraged," says Mr Lewin.

"The varied approaches are the key to the school's success in helping all individuals progress well."

The pupils are also big fans of the school's wide-ranging programme of extra activities.

He says Mrs Clement has developed a very close-knit and highly committed staff team who are responsible for the high quality care, guidance and support that is offered to all children and on which many parents comment.

Governors are enthusiastic, involved and maintain a frequent presence at the school providing good 'critical friendship' for the head.

Me Lewin says West Down has a good capacity to improve even more in the future and, to do this, it should build on the initiatives which are already under way to improve pupils' literacy skills.

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