Norwich primary school celebrates top accolade from Ofsted
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
Pupils and staff at a Norwich primary school are celebrating today after being told they are quite simply 'outstanding''.
Heartsease Primary Academy and the wider community are proudly toasting its success in being granted Ofsted's highest accolade.
But the school, whose 562 pupils were described as 'exemplary'' by Ofsted, says there is no room for complacency and it does not intend to rest on its laurels.
The school was given an overall result of outstanding, with three of the five elements inspected receiving top grades, and the two remaining being assessed as good.
The result spells a great success for the school, which has been going through a period of transition over the past decade.
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Christina Kenna, executive head of the HEART Education Trust, said: 'It is a huge reward for all the hard work of the pupils and staff of the school.
'Our members of staff are so dedicated and passionate about doing what is best for the pupils and this is really reflected in the result.'
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Headteacher Sue Wilcock said: 'It is an amazing achievement for the school – it is not easy to achieve outstanding status, particularly as the bar has been raised in recent years.
'It is harder now to get this result than it ever has been and it is a wonderful accolade to have.'
Mrs Kenna added: 'It is fairly unusual for an area with such high levels of deprivation to achieve an outstanding verdict from Ofsted.'
The team will not, however, rest on its laurels after Ofsted success.
Ms Wilcock, who took over from Mrs Kenna as headteacher in April, said: 'We are always looking to improve as a school and we will continue to do that from here.
'We will not be complacent and we know that we need to work hard to maintain this status.'
The school received high praise from the team of inspectors, who visited on May 24-25, with particular acclaim being given to its leadership, teaching and behaviour.
'Teachers constantly challenge pupils to be better learners with high aspirations,' it read. 'Pupils respond to this challenge by making the most of their learning time and using every opportunity to improve their work.'
The school has been working through a period of transition, which began with the reorganising of two first schools and a middle school in 2007 to form Heartsease Primary.
It then converted to academy status in April 2013, with the formation of the HEART Education Trust, which now involves three other schools in the same area.
Mrs Kenna added: 'This result absolutely validates the decision to become an academy and is a credit to both the school and the trust.'
Ms Wilcock added: 'Not only does this result reflect well on our school, but also the community it is a part of.
'The children were described as exemplary and their behaviour and attitude is just this.
'They just love learning – we are immensely proud.'
The outcome has added poignancy for Mrs Kenna, who paid tribute to her late husband, Roland Walker, who died of pancreatic cancer aged 52.
She said: 'I only wish my husband was still with us to see it. The staff and children here got me through a terrible time dealing with the loss of him, so this result is a fitting tribute.'
The school has 562 children currently on the school roll, and previously achieved 'good' status in its 2010 inspection.
Heartsease Primary Academy, originally known as Heartsease Primary School, was originally opened in 2007. It formed after the amalgamation of three schools – Heartsease First, Woodside First, Nursery Community and Heartsease Community Middle. The three schools became Heartsease Primary School, which it remained until its academisation. Mrs Kenna served as headteacher from its inception until April, with Ms Wilcock succeeding her.
As part of its conversion to an academy, Heartsease Primary Academy formed the HEART Education Trust.
This saw Heartsease Primary Academy become the central school in a network of four schools, for which Mrs Kenna is the executive head.
The three other schools involved in the trust are Lingwood Primary Academy, Henderson Green Primary School in Norwich and Valley Primary School, also Norwich.
HEART stands for 'High Educational Aspiration Realises Talent'.
It was established in April 2013.