Staff at a school which had been told it needed to improve were ‘chuffed to bits’ after receiving a ‘good’ rating from government inspectors.
Denton Community Primary School, in Newhaven, was visited by Ofsted over two days in April and the report, which praised the achievements of teachers and pupils, was published on May 8.
In his report, inspector George Logan said: “The school is working hard to address a legacy of under-performance which affects the work of some pupils.
“Standards are rising across the school, with the most rapid improvement currently in mathematics.
“Standards in reading are rising because of the better teaching of phonics.”
Head teacher Caitlin Yapp had only been in her post for six days before the previous report, which criticised inconsistent teaching, insufficient challenges for younger children and a lack of teaching of phonics – the links between letters and sounds.
Mrs Yapp said: “As a head, you know what you have to do and have a clear plan and we worked hard to address the issues.
“It’s been hard. We have been very aware of everything we had to address.
“We had to focus on phonics and early years and we’ve worked very hard on behaviour.
“Overall, we wanted to change the school and have a happy school and a school where people felt anything is possible.”
She had extra reason to be pleased after trawling through Ofsted reports from previous years and discovering this was the best rating the school had ever received.
She said: “We’re delighted, absolutely chuffed to bits. We’ve done it with huge commitment from the staff, a huge team spirit and instilling a huge belief in the school and the children to tell them they can aspire to anything.”
Mr Logan made particular note of the improvements made in leadership and governance, stating: “Leadership has strengthened significantly.
“Leaders at all levels constantly seek to improve the quality of education provided. Monitoring is rigorous.
“Governors are well informed about the quality of teaching and make a significant contribution to driving improvement.”
While recognising the work carried out by Mrs Yapp and her team, Mr Logan gave advice on issues which needed to be addressed to make Denton an ‘outstanding’ school.
He said there were not enough planned opportunities for pupils to practise their writing skills in subjects across the curriculum; subjects other than literacy and numeracy were not always covered in sufficient depth; and the good practice demonstrated in teachers’ marking of writing was not transferred to the marking of other subjects.
Mrs Yapp added: “We’re going to stick to the school motto ‘better never stops’ and keep on working hard.”
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