July 24 2014 Latest news:
Monday, June 9, 2014
The first school in a high-profile chain of Norfolk academies to be subject to a full Ofsted inspection has been judged “good”, with “outstanding” leadership.
Great Yarmouth Primary Academy’s report has been keenly awaited because its sponsor, the Inspiration Trust, now runs seven Norfolk schools, including Thetford, Hethersett and Cromer academies, and the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form free school in Norwich.
The academy’s predecessor school, Greenacre Primary, was put into special measures in 2010, but judged “satisfactory”, with “good” capacity for sustained improvement, the following year. It became a sponsored academy in September 2012.
Today’s Ofsted report says most children enter the school “with skills and abilities that are well below those typical for their age”, but the large majority reach standards above those expected for their age by the end of the early years foundation stage.
Lead inspector Prue Rayner wrote: “The headteacher is uncompromising in the belief that pupils from the local area can succeed as well as those in the highest achieving schools in the country.
“He has galvanised staff and set high expectations for outstanding standards which are well on the way to being met. In addition, behaviour has improved significantly and pupils talk about their academy with pride.”
Among other innovations, the school has introduced a longer school day, with Year 5 and 6 pupils staying until 6pm on Monday to Thursday, and held enrichment activities to give pupils opportunities they might not otherwise have, including ballet, sailing and horse riding.
The report noted the school’s successful use of additional pupil premium funding from the government to help improve the performance of children from low income backgrounds.
Headteacher Bill Holledge said: “We have used it quite creatively. Some of that has gone towards the longer school day. We have had pupils in for Saturday morning lessons for eight or nine weeks, which makes a real difference.”
The report said some teaching is not always good enough, but Mr Holledge said the school has a “significant cohort of highly effective teachers” who can help their colleagues.