Stradbroke Primary School celebrates top Ofsted marks

One of the region's youngest headteachers is celebrating after a village primary in north Suffolk was rated as 'outstanding' by school inspectors.

Stradbroke Primary was judged as 'satisfactory' by Ofsted shortly after Melanie Barrow took over the reins of the Church of England Voluntary Controlled School in 2008.

Mrs Barrow, who was one of youngest heads in the country when she started at the school at the age of 28, spoke of her delight after inspectors gave her school top marks following a recent visit.

Yesterday Mrs Barrow praised her staff and students for the achievement, which was put down to hard work, a busy curriculum, excellent teaching, and well-behaved children.

She said the success at Stradbroke proved that young teachers could excel in the role of running a school and she added that she hoped Stradbroke Primary could becoming a teaching school and a role model for newly qualified teachers.

She is looking to work with the National College and the University of East Anglia to help develop other young teaching talent.

'We have had fantastic staff joining and I think it has been a rigorous challenge.

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'We have known where we wanted to go and we never lost sight of that.

'Over the last three years there has been an improvement in Key Stage 2 results and every lesson observed by Ofsted was rated as outstanding,' she said. The 90-pupil school will be celebrating the Ofsted report during the week of the royal wedding by dressing up as kings and queens and staging a royal variety performance and street party.

Mrs Barrow added: 'Outstanding is the most overused word in the school at the moment. We knew we were good, but until we got the report you never know for sure.

'We have fantastic staff and it is lovely for them.'

Ofsted inspectors visited the primary school last month and found that standards had 'improved considerably' owing to the 'relentless drive' of the headteacher and her 'outstanding' staff.

They praised the 'exciting curriculum', which included memorable experiences such as a mobile planetarium and a trip to London to witness a 52 gun salute.

Inspector Nick Butt said pupils, who run a healthy fruit and veg stall at playtimes, 'thoroughly enjoy' their lessons.

Linda Walsh, deputy head, said the school had a 'dynamic' leadership and it was a big achievement to get 100pc outstanding teaching.

James Hargrave, chairman of governors at Stradbroke Primary School, added: 'What makes an outstanding school is outstanding staff teaching outstanding lessons and that is just what the school has.

'This is an incredible achievement and the governors are all very proud of the school and its staff and pupils.'

adam.gretton@archant.co.uk