Strong leadership helps school's rating soar

Strong leadership and high aspirations have seen an Eastbourne school's Ofsted rating soar to '˜good'.
Bourne Primary School has been rated 'good' by OfstedBourne Primary School has been rated 'good' by Ofsted
Bourne Primary School has been rated 'good' by Ofsted

Bourne Primary School, which was in special measures two years ago, is now one step away from Ofsted’s highest rating.

Headteacher John Maxwell described his school’s progress as “a fantastic achievement” and added: “This report shows how far we’ve come as a school in a relatively short space of time and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, governors, parents and the children themselves.”

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A team of inspectors, led by Julie Sackett, visited the Melbourne Road school in October and their findings were published on November 21. Their report stated: “The headteacher provides strong leadership and direction for the school. All members of staff share his high aspirations for pupils and understand their role in ensuring that all groups achieve well.”

It added: “The quality of teaching has improved substantially since the previous inspection. Teachers have higher expectations of all pupils, including the most able.”

As well as the quality of teaching, the inspectors praised its consistency, highlighting how children’s early reading skills had blossomed.

Their progress in Key Stage 2 was also praised, with children doing well in reading, writing and maths, and standards now matching the national average for the first time for several years.

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Some of the pupils were seen to have made exceptional progress in writing, having started much lower than the national average.

The report said: “For example, pupils in Year 3 who struggled to use basic punctuation such as full stops at the start of last year went on to write confident and detailed character descriptions by the end of the year.”

The report listed on a couple of requirements – the need to further improve the teaching of writing to raise achievements to the highest levels, and the need to work with parents to improve the attendance and achievement of disadvantaged pupils.

Looking at the report, Mr Maxwell said: “We were particularly pleased the inspectors noted the children’s good behaviour, their kindness to each other and the pride they show in their school.”

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He added: “We want Bourne to be the very best it can be, and as the report recommends, we will be focusing particularly on improving boys’ writing and some pupils’ attendance.”

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