Village school staff praised for effort despite requiring improvement

Bawdeswell Community Primary School. Picture: Ian Burt

Bawdeswell Community Primary School. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A school from mid Norfolk has been graded as requiring improvement despite many efforts being made to enhance pupils experiences there.

Bawdeswell Community Primary School, based on Fakenham Road in the village between Reepham and Dereham, was given the rating from Ofsted inspectors when they visited for two days from January 14.

The inspection team noted that behaviour, attitudes, and personal development was good but that the quality of education, leadership and management requires improvement.

The report, published on February 6, read: "When the school joined the Synergy Multi-Academy Trust, pupils' behaviour was poor and achievement very low. Since then, leaders and trustees have brought about many improvements. Despite this, there are still weaknesses in the quality of education, which leaders know they need to address."

The report went on to highlight the school's strengths, describing pupils as "happy".

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"This sense of community and everyone working together is evident," the report continued.

"Everyone joins in singing [in assembly], with obvious enjoyment shown by spontaneous clapping at the end.

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"[Pupils] are keen to earn a pom-pom for the class jar towards a class trip to the park."

Headteacher Emma Yerby Smith, who has led the school since January 2019, said: "Our whole school community is delighted that our Ofsted inspection has recognised that the school is improving with the support of new leadership and the Trust.

"Our priorities for 2019 /20 have been to improve the teaching of English and maths and we are so pleased that these and other areas in the school have been identified as strengths.

"We have lots of ambitious plans to continue to improve the teaching and learning in the school and look forward to the journey."

While the learning in core subjects was praised, inspectors were keen to see it extended into other foundation subject areas including history, geography and religious education. Inspectors also noted a "well planned" physical education curriculum.

The report added: "Pupils know how to treat others with respect. However, pupils lack understanding of other faiths and cultures. This is because the curriculum has not been planned to ensure that this is included."

Since the predecessor school was inspected in May 2015, the federation between Bawdeswell school and another local school ceased. Bawdeswell school joined Synergy Multi-Academy Trust in February 2017.

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