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Primary school in one of country’s most deprived areas celebrates ‘monumental’ inspection result

PUBLISHED: 11:27 15 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:27 15 December 2017

Stuart Allen, headteacher at Mile Cross Primary School, with year one and two pupils. Picture: New Anglia LEP

Stuart Allen, headteacher at Mile Cross Primary School, with year one and two pupils. Picture: New Anglia LEP

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The headteacher of a Norwich primary school in one of the country’s most deprived areas said he almost shed a tear after they swept the board in a report he described as “monumental”.

Youngsters at Mile Cross Primary School, with headteacher Stuart Allen, spell out the number one after receiving Ofsted's top grade - outstanding - across the board. PIcture: HexCam Ltd Youngsters at Mile Cross Primary School, with headteacher Stuart Allen, spell out the number one after receiving Ofsted's top grade - outstanding - across the board. PIcture: HexCam Ltd

Mile Cross Primary School, on Brasier Road, received the glowing report from Ofsted after a visit in November, which saw it given the watchdog’s top rating in all five categories.

Inspectors described pupils as a “delight”, praised the school’s “vibrant outdoor curriculum”, “rapid progress” of youngsters and its “open culture of leadership”.

They described headteacher Stuart Allen, who has been in the role for nine years and at its predecessor school for another eight, as “dynamic, energetic” and someone who “knows his school inside out”.

The report said: “[Pupils] are friendly and extremely enthusiastic about learning. While many have faced challenges of various kinds, they are successful in overcoming the barriers they have encountered.”

In a government study of deprived areas, Mile Cross is ranked in the bottom 2pc around the country.

Mr Allen, who said he nearly “shed a tear” when inspectors gave their feedback, described their achievement as a “monumental” and said: “Since I came here in 2000 I have been striving to show that deprivation does not need to be a barrier.

“We are delighted. This is our sixth Ofsted, so it’s something we have worked at back from when we opened. It certainly hasn’t been an overnight thing.”

During their visit, inspectors praised the school’s strong links with parents, including at reading, maths and story cafés and the Friday mile.

“It’s been absolutely vital to get parents on board,” Mr Allen said. “Their experience of school has not always been a positive one, so it is vital that we change that here.”

Mr Allen is involved with the Norwich Opportunity Area, a government scheme to improve the city’s social mobility, a measure of how someone improves their life chances.

Norwich has been rated among the worst areas in the country for social mobility.

“What we do for social mobility is absolutely key. I hope I’m playing a part in this wider work,” he said, “and I hope that we are giving hope that it can be done.”

The school was previously rated good.

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