Good progress by junior school

A Dereham school has remained 'satisfactory' following its latest Ofsted visit – but inspectors believe it has good prospects for improving.

St Nicholas Junior School has made steady progress since its last inspection in 2008 with assessors giving many areas, including behaviour, engagement with parents and safeguarding children, a good rating.

They praised progress in maths and English and the way the school encouraged pupils to apply what they learn to real-life situations.

A report by inspectors, published this week following the visit last month, said: 'It is a caring school where the vast majority of pupils are happy and eager to give their best. It has successfully built on the points for improvement noted by inspectors three years ago.'

Teaching was judged to be satisfactory overall, although Ofsted acknowledged it was improving steadily. Inspectors noted some examples of outstanding teaching but also felt some staff talked for too long in class.

In a letter to children, lead inspector John Mason told them: 'Your teachers plan some very good topics for you. You find these projects interesting and they help you learn better.

'Not all lessons interest you quite as much as these and sometimes teachers do not make lessons active, so some of you learn more slowly.'

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The personal development of the school's 414 children was highlighted as a particular strength. Pupils are said to behave well and are helpful and courteous, welcoming new arrivals and getting on well with adults and each other.

Inspectors, as well as staff, believe the school can improve even more and have identified a number of areas to work on.

They include: keeping learning active in every class, raising standards in maths, improving marking, making work challenging for all children and involving governors more.

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