Village school’s high standards

Joseph Bulmer

Inspectors praise quality of teaching at Horwood and Newton Tracey

PUPILS at a North Devon village primary achieve consistently high standards because of the school’s constant pursuit of excellence and top quality teaching.

Education inspectors say Horwood and Newton Tracey is an outstanding school where pupils achieve extremely well.

“Pupils’ absolute enjoyment of school is reflected in their high attendance and eagerness to learn,” say the inspectors.

“They attain very high standards at the end of Year 6 and are very well prepared for the next stage in their education.

“The success enjoyed by the pupils is due largely to the extremely high expectations that staff and the good quality governing body have of all aspects of their development.

“The continual pursuit of excellence in all of the school’s activities has led to exceptional improvement over time.”

Two inspectors from Ofsted spent two days at the school last month and their report has just been published.

Lead inspector Stephen Lake says children start school with the level of skills expected for their age.

They get off to a good start in the Early Years Foundation Stage and then build very securely on this throughout their school career.

“They learn extremely well and make outstanding progress because of the consistently high quality of teaching,” says Mr Lake.

“Teaching is linked very effectively to a creative curriculum that is highly motivating for all pupils.”

Mr Lake says all the lessons the inspectors saw were at least good and 60 per cent were outstanding.

“High quality care, support and guidance enable all pupils to make the best of the opportunities offered by the school through the outstanding curriculum,” he says.

“Many visits to local places of interest and frequent visitors to the school support learning very well.

“The provision for pupils’ personal development and social development is outstanding. All adults show great care for pupils’ needs.”

Mr Lake says the school shows an outstanding capacity to get even better in the future.

“The highly effective head teacher and talented staff share a strong ambition to continue driving school improvement,” he says.

“Governors support the school and share the drive to improve further.”

Mr Lake says parents are overwhelmingly supportive of the school and a well-above-average proportion returned Ofsted’s questionnaire.

Typical of the positive comments was: “I feel this is a brilliant school and I feel fortunate that my children are here.”

Mr Lake says, to continue to improve, the school should ensure the planned building improvements to the Early Years are completed and make sure that the high expectations of pupils evident in all other aspects of their work are applied to the presentation in their books.

Delighted head teacher Ian Dickerson said: “The results are down to the ongoing dedication and commitment of a well-established staff team, the hard work and enthusiasm of the pupils and the support of governors and parents.

“We are not complacent and see this outstanding judgement as a springboard to further improvement, which we have always been committed to. One of the things we were most pleased with was that all lessons were judged as at least good and 60 per cent were outstanding.

“We listened to the inspectors and are putting into place actions in response to their comments, for example plans are under way to implement new units of work in Geography, History and English to further develop our rich and challenging curriculum.

“We have already implemented the improvements to the Foundation Stage classroom.”