Picture Gallery: Dereham pupils celebrate ‘outstanding’ church school inspection

Dereham Church Infant and Nursery School pupils enjoying Colour Day. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Church Infant and Nursery School pupils enjoying Colour Day. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Teachers and pupils in Dereham are celebrating an 'outstanding' report from church schools inspectors – which they hope will mark a step towards reclaiming their good rating from Ofsted.

Dereham Church Infant and Nursery School school in Withburga Lane was visited under the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (Siams) framework, which monitors the effect which the Christian ethos of church schools has on their children.

The report praised the school's distinctiveness and effectiveness as 'outstanding', with the top grade also given to the way it is 'meeting the needs of all learners', the impact of collective worship, and the effectiveness of the leadership and management.

The Siams report says: 'The leadership of the headteacher powerfully promotes the Christian vision and values of the school which ensures that they are embedded into policy and practice.

'The very strong emphasis placed on care, respect and supporting each other impacts very positively on the well-being of each member of the school community.'

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It is a boost for the staff after the results of a disappointing Ofsted inspection were published in May, which downgraded the school from 'good' to 'requires improvement'.

The school was criticised by inspectors for falling standards in mathematics and quality of teaching, and was told it would need another full inspection within 24 months.

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Headteacher Karen Gay said at the time that her team was working hard with staff, parents and advisers from the local authority to ensure swift improvements – and the Siams reported has given her added confidence that the Ofsted rating can be turned around.

She said: 'The whole school community is delighted with our 'outstanding' judgement as we feel this truly reflects our church school.

'The Siams report looks at how we nurture and care for our children, our religious education and the school ethos, which is all part of what we will be judged on by Ofsted as well.

'We now hope to get our 'good' grade back from Ofsted. The Ofsted judgement we received was based on historical data, as we were waiting on results coming through – those results have come through now, and they have gone up significantly.

'We hope to have an HMI (Her Majesty's Inspectors) visit from Ofsted in autumn, which could trigger an earlier Ofsted inspection.'

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