Hastings school praised by Ofsted for its ‘exceptional quality’ of education

A Hastings school has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for its ‘exceptional quality of education’ to pupils.

Ark Castledown Primary Academy, in Priory Road, was given an overall rating of ‘good’, with the leadership and governance being rated as ‘outstanding’.

In their report, Ofsted inspectors said: “Leadership and governance at this school are exceptional.

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“Despite a number of leaders being new to post, the clarity of vision, the training and professional development provided both within the school and within the trust mean that all leaders are extremely well-focused on the education provided by the school.

Principal Mark Rankin with pupils SUS-220117-135417001

“There are high expectations for every pupil at this school across the subjects taught. All children, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), now get off to an excellent start with their reading. This is enabling them to access the ambitious new curriculum that leaders have introduced.

“This school became an academy and joined a multi-academy trust in September 2017. Prior to this, there had been a very concerning decline in the attainment and progress of pupils. Leaders within the school and the multi-academy trust took rapid and highly effective action in response to this decline.

“They knew that they needed to ensure that all pupils learned to read fluently. A new phonics curriculum was introduced. Leaders have ensured that every member of staff has expert knowledge of teaching reading.

“A new mathematics curriculum has been introduced, which starts when children join the school in Nursery. All staff have been trained to deliver the new mathematics curriculum in a highly effective and consistent way.

“Leaders have a clear ambition for each foundation subject to be taught as effectively as reading and mathematics are taught, so that pupils at this school receive an exceptional education in every subject.”

Inspectors commended the school for its positive relationships between staff and children.

Their report said: “Staff always maintain clear and consistent expectations for behaviour. They also have a detailed knowledge of individual pupil’s needs and how to get the best from every learner.”

Mark Rankin, principal, said: “I am incredibly proud of the school community and the hard work and dedication of children and staff.

“We feel this report is a positive reflection of where we are as a school. We are incredibly proud that, despite the disruption to normal school life over the past two years, Ofsted saw that Ark Castledown is a place where all children are safe and happy and receive an excellent education delivered by high-quality teaching staff.”

Regional director Lorraine Clarke, OBE, said: “I am delighted with the findings of the report. We work closely with our schools to ensure that we can give the children the best possible start to their school life.

“Staff at Ark Castledown go above and beyond to ensure pupils enjoy their education, having fun when learning.”