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Ofsted praises happy pupils and staff as academy is rated ‘good’

Pupils at St Michaels Church of England Academy in Gillingham celebrate a good Ofsted rating. Picture: Courtesy of DNEAT.

Pupils at St Michaels Church of England Academy in Gillingham celebrate a good Ofsted rating. Picture: Courtesy of DNEAT.

Keith Osborn

A primary school has been praised by Ofsted for maintaining a good quality of education while providing a place where pupils feel safe and try hard.

St Michaels Church of England Academy in Gillingham has gone through a number of changes since it was last inspected in July 2013, including entering into an informal partnership with Ditchingham Church of England Primary Academy and then becoming an academy itself.

The school building has also changed, with an additional classroom and library built, which the inspector said provides “a good-quality learning environment.”

In her report the inspector said: “Gillingham St Michael’s is a welcoming and friendly school, with happy pupils and staff.

“The school’s very small size means that everybody knows everybody, and pupils like this family feel. This also means that staff know pupils well as individuals.

Relationships between pupils and staff are strong. This helps to ensure that classrooms are happy and productive places where pupils behave well and try hard.”

The atmosphere is credited to contributing to the effective safeguarding practiced within the school where pupils have “strong relationships with staff meaning that there is always someone to talk to.”

Headteacher Heather Brand said: “We are very pleased that the hard work of our lovely pupils and dedicated staff was recognised by the inspector during her recent visit.”

The report also praises the work of the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) in supporting and challenging the academy and the trust’s executive principal for knowing the school well and having an accurate view of its strengths and weaknesses.

It said the trust offers staff a wide range of professional development opportunities such as courses, meetings and workshops and commended the chairman of the governing body for her experience and expertise.

Following the visit in February, the inspector said the next steps for the school are to continue to improve the quality of teaching of reading so that a greater proportion of pupils make rapid progress, and for leaders to help pupils develop the resilience and speed of response necessary for them to demonstrate their skills fully in formal assessments.

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