Centre for children at RAF Marham among England’s best

A thriving centre for more than 250 children that would close if the government opted to axe RAF Marham has been named by Ofsted as one of the best in England.

The Rainbow Centre caters for children aged three months to 12 years, but relies on its custom from families at the West Norfolk Tornado base.

Yesterday, it was one of a clutch of East Anglian schools, nurseries and children's centres singled out by Ofsted in its annual report for getting an 'outstanding' grade in 2009/10.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the centre could close if the government opted to relocate its Tornadoes to RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

Debbie Rose, nursery assistant, said: 'I rely on a full time job to pay my mortgage but I might not have a job here if RAF Marham is closed. There are also lots of villages around Marham which rely on this centre.'


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Centre manager Dee Gent said: 'It will be devastating for everyone here if it is closed.'

The EDP has since launched its 'Make it Marham' campaign to convince the government to retain the base.

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Ofsted's annual report named 20 childminders, eight nurseries and nine schools in Norfolk as outstanding this year.

In Suffolk, 12 childminders, one nursery and nine schools were picked out, while in Cambridgeshire there were 12 childminders, four nurseries and eight schools.

The report also name-checked Aslacton Primary, near Norwich, for being one a select few across England that left special measures by achieving a 'good' grade.

The report said: 'To become a good or outstanding school after being in an Ofsted category shows a singularity of purpose that comes from highly capable leadership.'

This year, Ofsted has toughened its inspections and has targeted them more on schools rated inadequate and adequate than in previous years. This means this year's figures are not directly comparable to previous years.

Chief inspector Christine Gilbert said pupils across England were facing too many 'dull and uninspiring lessons', while the quality of teaching was too 'variable'.

Ofsted found that teaching in 50pc of secondary schools inspected in the past year and 43pc of primary schools was no better than satisfactory.

Ms Gilbert said: 'Too much teaching is still not good enough and does not deliver what we now expect of it. It is true that we expect more from schools and colleges today and more from our teachers. But we also know a lot more about how to deliver good, inspiring lessons that motivate and engage children, young people and adult learners.

'It's vital that teachers are supported to provide them as a matter of course.'

Overall, across England, including schools inspected in previous years, Ofsted said 68pc of schools were now rated either good or outstanding.

To view the full report, and the complete list of outstanding providers, visit www.ofsted.gov.uk.

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