School basks in the glory of ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating

Something to celebrate ... Head Teacher Abby Kilgarriff with High Cliff Academy pupils
Something to celebrate ... Head Teacher Abby Kilgarriff with High Cliff Academy pupils

High Cliff Academy has been rated ‘Outstanding’ in all categories in its first ever Ofsted report.

Inspection of the school, in Southdown Road, Newhaven, took place on June 5 and 6.

Ofsted said: “This is an outstanding school. The headteacher is unwavering in her determination to provide the best possible experiences for pupils in the school. She does this extremely well, including recognising the challenge of sustaining this as the school expands.

The report went on:

- Since January 2017, STEP Academy Trust has provided highly effective support to the school. The multi-academy trust (MAT) has worked with urgency and moral purpose to ensure that high-quality learning opportunities are in place for all pupils.

- All staff display a deep commitment to the headteacher’s vision. They are expertly encouraged and enabled to contribute to this vision.

- Governors carry out their duties conscientiously and rigorously. They understand the school well, visit regularly and know how effectively pupils learn.

- The curriculum is inspiring and relevant to the pupils of High Cliff Academy. Leaders have given careful consideration to how pupils can successfully develop their skills, understanding and knowledge.

- Teachers plan highly engaging and effective lessons. Teaching is very strong, and standards are rising rapidly.

- Pupils throughout the school make rapid progress from their starting points in reading, writing and mathematics.

- Children get off to a great start in early years. Staff form excellent relationships with parents and children happily settle into routines.

- Exceptionally skilled phonics [letters and the sounds they represent] teaching across early years and key stage 1 ensures that pupils are encouraged and supported to read widely.

- Safeguarding is a strength. Parents have complete confidence that leaders deliver the highest standards of safety and protection for their children. The school is a nurturing and inclusive environment.

- Parents are extremely positive about the school. They say that their children are safe, happy and thriving. They recognise that belonging to the MAT has facilitated improvements to the school.

- Pupils are happy, motivated and excited to come to school. They demonstrate excellent attitudes to their learning and are growing in confidence.

- The school develops pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development particularly skilfully. Pupils are thoughtful, kind and respectful.