Southwold primary school now on track after ‘disruptive’ year

THE head teacher at Southwold Primary School has steadied the ship after a 'disruptive year' for its staff and pupils, an Ofsted report reveals.

Ruth Nixon is credited for driving up standards at the school by halting a high staff turnover and stemming a decline in pupil numbers.

The Ofsted report, which follows an inspection in January, gave the school a 'satisfactory' rating for its overall effectiveness and highlighted the stability provided by Mrs Nixon and staff.

However, the inspector stressed that pupils' attitude towards work in class still needed to improve.

Mrs Nixon, who took over at Southwold Primary last September, said she hoped the school could continue its progress by creating a year six class and employing a new teacher in the autumn.

She said: 'The school has had quite an unstable couple of years because they have found it difficult to get a head teacher. There have also been changes of staff, so we were more or less a new school from September last year.

'There hasn't been a consistency in teaching, so we want to raise the pupils' expectations of their work and make sure they make the best progress they can following a disruptive year.

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'There is a very warm family feeling to the school – the children really look out for each other. We are also lucky to have a very supportive team of governors.

'We are now looking forward to progressing and making sure teaching and learning gets better. We have a bright future ahead of us.'

The Ofsted inspection on January 19-20 found Mrs Nixon and her staff had successfully stemmed a decline in pupils' 'attainment, achievement and behaviour.'

Meanwhile, the standard of teaching was deemed 'satisfactory' with instances of both 'good' and 'outstanding' teaching for key stage 2 pupils.

The report states: 'The recent stability provided by the head teacher and new teaching staff has halted further decline.'

It adds: 'All parents and carers agree that their children are taught well. Pupils say they like their teachers and think they make them work hard.

'A good depth of subject knowledge and experience of teaching are very evident in the key stage 2 class.

'Here, the good use of assessment and regular checks made on pupils' understanding during lessons contribute effectively to the good progress make in catching up on lost learning.'

However, the inspector said the school needed to focus on improving its progress with pupils with special needs and the standard of children's behaviour towards work.

Speaking about the report, Mrs Nixon, who is a joint head of Southwold and Barnby and North Cove primary schools, said: 'Before the Ofsted inspection, we only had a term to start again and put things right, but those are things that are going to take time to see the fruits of our labour. I know we are on the right track.'

She added: 'I think Southwold's collaboration with Barnby and North Cove Primary School has been a positive move for both schools because we can share the cost of trips and sporting activities.'

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