Children told: you will succeed, no excuses at Hempnall Primary School as it aims for top Ofsted grade

Children from Hempnall Primary celebrate their school's

Children from Hempnall Primary celebrate their school's "good" Ofsted. Pupils are pictured with deputy headteacher Ian Small. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN


You will succeed, no excuses – that is the message from one headteacher as she attempts to make her school one of the best in the country.

Laura Jestico, headteacher of Hempnall Primary School. Photo: Laura JesticoLaura Jestico, headteacher of Hempnall Primary School. Photo: Laura Jestico

In many walks of life it is accepted that some people face greater obstacles than others, making it harder to achieve their potential.

But as Hempnall Primary School was rated as “good” by education regulator Ofsted in its latest inspection, headteacher Laura Jestico said a “no excuses culture” is needed to reach the top “outstanding” grade – only awarded to 10pc of UK schools.

Mrs Jestico, who took over as executive headteacher for Shelton and Hardwick with Hempnall Federation of schools in September 2016, said: “It’s about changing that mindset to saying my child can do this and that absolute belief to help them do it.

“They might need some booster sessions, but there needs to be an absolute belief that every child can make it.

“It is a no excuses culture.”

Many people taking over the helm at a school would be tempted to make sweeping changes.

But despite being faced with a number of challenges on her arrival, Mrs Jestico was praised for taking a measured approach.

“Rather than make sweeping changes, you wisely evaluated the school’s strengths and weaknesses and have managed change with sensitivity, but also with a clear determination to improve standards across the school,” inspector John Daniell said.

“All of this is a testament to your resilience and determination.”

For example, Mrs Jestico has improved the schools music and arts provision.

She also brought in maths and early years advisors to the school, with Mr Daniell remarking on how: “Weaker teaching has been dealt with firmly and you have established improved systems to manage staff’s performance in order to hold them to account.”

Consequently, Mrs Jestico said, “our results are vastly improved in 2017” and she was “really pleased by parental feedback as part of the Ofsted report”.

Mr Daniell added: “Your efforts over the past year have not gone unrecognised. Parents, staff, pupils and governors have confidence in your leadership.

“You have prioritised the right things to make a difference in maintaining and improving the quality of the provision.

“You have worked hard to raise pupils’ self-esteem and ensure that they have higher expectations of themselves.

“It is clear that you want every pupil to reach their potential through working hard and experiencing teaching which is consistently effective.”

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