Head's delight as '˜little gem' of a school is praised by Ofsted

A headteacher has shared her delight after her 'little gem' of a school maintained its '˜good' Ofsted rating.

Headteacher Wendy Millbanks and some of the Balcombe Primary School children
Headteacher Wendy Millbanks and some of the Balcombe Primary School children

Balcombe CE Primary recently underwent its first short inspection since being rated ‘good’ in December 2012. In her report, inspector Deborah Gordon lauded the school as somewhere “where pupils thrive and develop as confident, articulate learners”.

Headteacher Wendy Millbanks described the report as “all round, a great result” and said she felt “incredibly blessed to have such a hardworking and dedicated staff and governing body”.

She added: “I was delighted with the Ofsted report – I feel it is an accurate reflection of the school, our strengths and areas where we recognise that we need to improve.”

Ms Gordon was effusive with her praise for those strengths, as were the parents with whom she spoke.

One said: “I am so fortunate to send my children to a school where they are nurtured and respected as individuals”, while another said the school gave pupils “the stability and encouragement to grow into confident young people”.

Ms Gordon told Mrs Millbanks: “Everyone upholds your high expectations for pupils’ behaviour. Pupils blossom in the atmosphere of mutual respect that permeates every level of school life. Pupils are well mannered, thoughtful and happily engaged in learning and playing together.”

Looking at the next steps for the school, Ms Gordon encouraged further work to be done to raise aspirations when it came to writing, particularly among the more able children.

She also called for middle leaders to be more involved in assessing the quality of teaching and developing the professional skills of their colleagues.

Mrs Millbanks said both points were part of the school’s improvement plan for this academic year.

She added: “I feel confident that we can make further improvements in both of these areas in the near future.

“We are continuing our focus on developing writing, ensuring that our most able children are given learning opportunities that challenge them and push them to reach their full potential and further supporting school leaders to both monitor and support the teaching and learning across the school."