Changes help school improve to a ‘good’ rating in latest Ofsted report

Executive head Gerard Batty and head of school Roz Robinson with pupils at Firside Junior School who

Executive head Gerard Batty and head of school Roz Robinson with pupils at Firside Junior School who have got a 'Good' Ofsted report.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A school branded inadequate is celebrating a turnaround in its fortunes after it was given a 'good' Ofsted rating.

Firside Junior School has placed itself back on the right path, three years after it was given a notice to improve by inspectors in May 2012.

A further report 13 months later was slightly better but Ofsted inspectors stated that the school still required improvement.

But, following an inspection on June 16 and 17, the school gained a 'good' rating in all four areas – leadership and management, behaviour and safety of pupils, quality of teaching and achievement of pupils.

The report mentioned that since September 2014, the school has made 'considerable improvements.'

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This coincides with the time the school brought Gerard Batty into a newly-created executive headteacher role, to work side by side with head of school, Rosalind Robinson.

Mr Batty, who shares his time at Firside with his role as headteacher at Hellesdon High School, has contributed to several changes in the school over the past nine months.

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Mrs Robinson said: 'During the first term it took some time to learn how things would work behind the scenes but over time we have gained more understanding on who is doing what, and we work very well together.

'There have been big changes – we have brought in more staff and there have been massive changes to the children's timetable.

'In year six there are smaller groups in maths and English meaning the children get as much individual attention as they can get. The mornings are now solely devoted to English and maths with accelerated reading sessions of 30 minutes per day.'

Mr Batty said: 'It was a huge learning curve for me, especially as there was a nine-month timeframe to help boost both Ofsted and Sats results.'

The Ofsted report noted Mr Batty and Mrs Robinson are providing 'good quality leadership' and are 'driving improvements in teaching and tackling underachievement effectively.'

It was also said pupils achieve well because of good teaching and teachers' high expectations in most classes.

The school did not receive the highest 'outstanding' grade for reasons including low teachers' expectations in 'less-able' students and guidance in teachers' feedback not being targeted enough on how children can improve.

Mr Batty said: 'We can't deny there are still improvements to be made in terms of teaching throughout the school and results can still improve.'

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