East Ruston Infants shows that small is beautiful in Norfolk

One of Norfolk's tiniest schools has shown that small can be beautiful after getting the best possible report from inspectors.

East Ruston Infants, near Stalham, has just 31 pupils – but wowed Ofsted with its mix of outdoor learning and exciting lessons.

Penny Steward, headteacher for six years, said the report demonstrated the merits of Norfolk's more than 100 small rural schools, which have at times been threatened with extinction.

She said: 'I think the children have a brilliant start here. We know all the children and all their families – even their grandparents. Because we are a small school it's actually easier for us to do exciting things like forest schools and cookery.'

Inspectors, who visited the school on March 17 and 18, said: 'This is an outstanding school. The headteacher's, staff's and governing body's uncompromising vision of a school at the heart of its community where all are encouraged and helped to do the best they can is met exceptionally well.

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'Parents have many good things to say about the school. Pupils, staff, governors and parents are rightly proud of their school.'

The report added: The list of the school's strengths is long and there are no real weaknesses.'

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Mrs Steward said: 'Everybody's feeling really pleased and really proud. They've been working hard for a lot of years to get things how we think they should be.

'It's nice to see our efforts highlighted by Ofsted. We do so much outdoor activity. I like the way the inspection recognises that we link our activities to enhance their writing. We get high standards in literacy and maths. Also, the parents and community have so much support for the school.'

She added: 'The children leave here thinking that school is great and learning is exciting.'

The report added: 'Management is outstanding. Consequently, staff morale is high and all contribute to the ambitious aims for the school's future.'

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