Vibrant Harpley school impresses inspectors

The family atmosphere of a vibrant north Norfolk school has helped it achieve a good rating from inspectors during its latest inspection.

Harpley Primary School, which was visited by Ofsted in February, saw its grade improve from satisfactory in April 2008.

In their report, inspectors rated children's behaviour and attendance as outstanding as well as the school's engagement with parents and carers.

All other areas of the school, which is between Fakenham and King's Lynn, were judged good other than the way equal opportunities was promoted among pupils, which was deemed satisfactory.

Summing up the Church of England school, where children were seen to enjoy their time there, inspectors said: 'The headteacher, staff and governors have developed a strong team approach that instils a sense of belonging and a family atmosphere within a vibrant school community.'

They were particularly impressed with how older pupils in the school supported younger ones, taking them under their wings at break and lunch times to ensure they felt happy and safe. And relationships between the children, teachers and teaching assistants were considered just as good.

The report said: 'Staff know each individual and have a good understanding of their particular needs.'

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Attainment has improved considerably since Harpley Primary School's last Ofsted inspection, with youngsters now reaching above-average levels in maths and reading by the time they reach year six.

But inspectors asked teachers to focus their efforts on encouraging better writing skills by using some of the teaching methods which had proved successful in other subjects.

In a letter to pupils, lead inspector Colin Henderson said: 'You are all making good progress in your lessons. This is because your teachers make lessons interesting and you try hard to do what they ask.

'Teachers are using different ways to let you know how you can improve, such as giving you targets in mathematics. I have asked your teacher in Class J to develop further the use of improvement targets in literacy. Please use these targets and try hard to make your work even better.'

The school was judged to have a good capacity to improve further in the future.