Schools watchdog Ofsted rates Hove primary as good and praises improvements

Posted On 25 Feb 2015 at 5:49 pm

A Hove primary school has been graded good with outstanding features by the official watchdog Ofsted.

Inspectors praised the rapid transformation at West Blatchington Primary School which was rated as requiring improvement when it was last inspected in May 2013.

The previous inspection took place just as a new leadership team was put in place. The Ofsted team at that time recognised the strong capacity to improve.

West Blatchington Primary School pupils with deputy head Debbie Collis and head teacher Rachel Simmonds

West Blatchington Primary School pupils with deputy head Debbie Collis and head teacher Rachel Simmonds

Rapid progress has since been made across all areas in the school resulting in a transformation, as recognised by Ofsted, which said: “Decisive and effective action has been taken to improve the quality of teaching and pupils’ achievement which are now good.”

Head teacher Rachel Simmonds and executive head Derek Trimmer are delighted with the news.

They said: “This is a real team triumph. We are immensely proud of what we have achieved.

“The children are a credit to our school and the staff and governors have worked tirelessly to secure the school’s improvement and provide the best outcomes for all of our pupils.

“This recognition is very positive for the whole school community and we will continue to move the school forward with a clear and shared vision.”

Ofsted said that the “head teacher (Rachel Simmonds) provides outstanding leadership for the school”.

The watchdog added: “She is relentless in her determination to provide the best learning and experiences of pupils and meet the particular needs of the school community.”

West Blatch teamed up with Hove Park School to accelerate the progress that was being made – the first partnership of its kind in Brighton and Hove.

The school: “This innovative partnership has proved to be very successful and continues to provide mutual benefits to both pupils and staff. However, this is just the first step of the journey for this ambitious school.”

The inspectors said: “There is no complacency and staff share the determination and ambition.”

West Blatchington Primary School pupils with deputy head Debbie Collis and head teacher Rachel Simmonds

West Blatchington Primary School pupils with deputy head Debbie Collis and head teacher Rachel Simmonds

The inspectors also said: “Parents are very supportive of all aspects of the school’s work and express their confidence in the leadership and management of the school.”

The biggest impact of the school’s progress is seen in the classroom. There is a stimulating and well-balanced curriculum and this provides rich and varied experiences for the children.

Pupils take pride in their work and enjoy school. Ofsted said: “Very often, pupils’ behaviour is outstanding … They behave well in class, in the playground and around the school.

“They have good attitudes to learning which help them make good progress in lessons. They are polite and friendly and happy to talk about their school and their work.”

Inspectors said: “Teaching is good so children learn rapidly.”

West Blatchington Primary and Nursery School values pupils of differing abilities and backgrounds and new pupils are helped to settle in by staff and pupils alike.

One pupil, who started in the school’s nursery, said: “We always make them feel welcome because this is a very happy school.”

The chairman of governors Michael Jennings said: “The governing body is delighted that their faith in Rachel Simmonds and her team to deliver this result in two years has been completely justified.

“We knew we were seeing the development of a good school as each term went by and we know that this Ofsted judgment is the product of hard work and commitment at all levels of the staff team.

“We want to congratulate everyone concerned and acknowledge the part played by Hove Park School in supporting us.”

Ofsted said: “This is a good school.” It added

  • The head teacher provides outstanding leadership for the school. She is relentless in her determination to provide the best learning and experiences for pupils and meet the particular needs of the school community.
  • Together with the executive head teacher and senior leaders, they form a strong team, which is ambitious for the school and has been successful in improving the school since its previous inspection.
  • Decisive and effective action has been taken to improve the quality of teaching and pupils’ achievement, which are now good.
  • Pupils achieve well because they make good progress from their starting points.
  • Pupils enjoy school, behave well and feel safe.
  • Children in the early years make good progress because provision is well planned to help them develop and grow in confidence.
  • Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs, including those in the autistic spectrum conditions unit, are well supported and make good progress because their needs are met very well.
  • Pupils who are new to learning to speak English as an additional language are helped to quickly acquire skills and are supported well in lessons by adults and pupils.
  • Disadvantaged pupils make similar progress to others and gaps are narrowing. In some cases, gaps between this group and other pupils have closed.
  • Subject leaders make a valuable contribution to school improvement. Their roles have developed rapidly since the previous inspection.
  • The effectiveness of the governing body has improved and governors now provide a good balance of support and challenge.

Ofsted said: “It is not yet an outstanding school.” It added

  • Achievement in mathematics is not as strong as it is in reading and writing.
  • The key skills that the school has identified as priorities for its pupils, speaking and inquiry skills, are not always sufficiently developed in all subjects to promote rapid progress and a thirst for knowledge.
  • On occasion, expectations and aspirations are not always high enough to consistently challenge some pupils to achieve as well as they might.
  • Pupils do not always have time to respond to teachers’ helpful comments on their work to help them improve.

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