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This Norfolk primary school has just achieved its first ‘good’ ranking

PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 06:50 14 February 2019

Pupils at Southery Academy near Downham Market, which has achieved its first

Pupils at Southery Academy near Downham Market, which has achieved its first "good" Ofsted ranking. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant 2019

Staff and pupils at a west Norfolk school are celebrating their first ever “good” rating from inspectors.

Southery Academy principal Barney Rimmer with some of the children, celebrating the school's first Southery Academy principal Barney Rimmer with some of the children, celebrating the school's first "good" Ofsted rating. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Southery Academy had failed to reach above a grade three ranking from Ofsted – formerly “satisfactory” and now “requires improvement” – since it opened in the early 2000s.

It was still undergoing monitoring visits when it became an academy in 2016, after which it saw “substantial” staff changes.

But following an inspection in January the school has secured “good” rankings across the board.

Ofsted said the strong leadership of its principal Barney Rimmer and support from its sponsor Eastern Multi-Academy Trust had led to improvements and higher expectations for pupils.

Southery Academy is part of the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust. Picture: Sonya DuncanSouthery Academy is part of the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust. Picture: Sonya Duncan

“School plans for improvement are detailed and realistic,” the report said. “Parents and staff have high confidence in the leadership of the school.”

The inspection report said that while most of the senior team were new in post they were “enthusiastic and have already brought about rapid change”.

Pupils, including those with special educational needs, were said to make “good progress” from their starting points and were seen to have “positive relationships” with their teachers.

Teaching was considered to be consistently good and the report also praised the school for its effective use of the pupil premium grant, given for disadvantaged pupils to support their learning.

The school has also introduced outdoor learning for key stage one pupils with “forest school” sessions.

Inspectors added that more work was needed to make pupils “confident in their own abilities” and to develop the leadership skills of senior staff.

Principal Barney Rimmer said: “This is a true reflection of the hard work, dedication and support shown by the children, staff, parents, governors, the trust and the wider community. I am incredibly proud of everyone involved with the school for creating such a positive learning environment that both motivates and challenges the children.”

Dr Duncan Ramsey, chief executive of Eastern Multi-Academy Trust, added: “This is a success story for a school which has never been good and has come such a long way. The parents and community are really supportive and have contributed so much to the improvement journey.”

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