Old Buckenham Primary goes from “inadequate” to “good” in latest Ofsted report

Old Buckenham Primary School has been judged "good" by Ofsted.

Old Buckenham Primary School has been judged "good" by Ofsted. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Pupils are celebrating after their school went from being judged 'inadequate' to 'good' across the board in just 12 months.

Old Buckenham Primary School has been judged "good" by Ofsted.

Old Buckenham Primary School has been judged "good" by Ofsted. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

The Ofsted report for Old Buckenham Primary School, due to be published today, praised the efforts of headteacher Julia Humphrey, who joined the school just before its previous inspection in February 2015.

The latest inspection, on February 23 and 24, was originally scheduled to be a one-day monitoring visit to see how the school was progressing, but was turned into a full two-day inspection after inspector Kim Hall thought it could qualify as 'good'.

The report said: 'Since the last inspection, the determined headteacher, ably supported by the deputy headteacher, has been relentless and focused on improving the standard of education within the school.

'They have robustly tackled the areas of weakness from the previous inspection report.

'Consequently, they have managed to both raise the standards of behaviour and improve the quality of teaching together in a short space of time. Pupils' achievement is rising as a result.'

The report said that staff morale was high 'as they feel valued and supported', said pupils' attainment in reading was a strength of the school, and praised children as 'polite and well mannered throughout the school'.

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Mrs Humphrey said that telling staff last year about the poor Ofsted judgment was 'one of the most difficult conversations I have had to hold with a group of people', and said that making sure staff understood the reasons for actions to improve the school was vital to raising staff morale.

She said: 'I was very clear we are not doing this to jump through an Ofsted hoop. It's for the long-term good of the school. I have said all the way along we are not going to narrow the curriculum or just teach reading, writing and maths so we can pass tests.

'We are going to give all the children the best possible experience they can get, and the good will come through.'

The report said teachers were 'enthusiastic and plan an exciting and creative curriculum for the pupils', and cited a lesson where pupils were experiencing being archaeologists, making models of coprolites – fossilised faeces – to examine the digestion system of Romans.

The report also noted that, in Year 6, 'pupils start working from the time they enter the class in the morning, without losing a moment'.

Asked what was behind the school's rapid improvement, Mrs Humphrey said: 'I think the key is being very clear about what we need to do, and being really tight about time scales and actions, and what you want to see as a result.

'Mainly, the focus has been on teaching and learning, because without that everything else falls by the wayside.'

Do you have an education story for us? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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