The Windmills Junior School in Hassocks celebrates ‘good’ Ofsted rating

The Windmills Junior School in Hassocks is celebrating after receiving a ‘good’ rating in its most recent Ofsted report.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 11:40 am

The school’s previous rating was ‘requires improvement’ so headteacher Mrs Leila Murray said she was delighted to share the news with teachers and parents on Monday (November 29).

She said the report acknowledges the school’s quality of teaching and learning, as well as the quality of the relationship between staff and children.

“In the previous inspection Ofsted inspectors stated that we were on the right track but the strategies we were using hadn’t had time to embed properly,” said Mrs Murray. 
“So we focused on the quality of teaching and learning throughout the school,” she said, adding that The Windmills made sure everybody understood its teaching philosophy.

Windmills Junior School headteacher Mrs Leila Murray with pupils as they celebrate the school's 'good' Ofsted result. Picture: Steve Robards, SR2112071.

“The inspectors saw a carefully constructed curriculum,” said Mrs Murray, explaining that this is ‘rich and broad’ to inspire pupils to be great learners.

“They were incredibly impressed with the children and how much pride they took in their learning and how motivated they were,” she said.

“The children stated very clearly that they were happy in school and that they felt safe,” Mrs Murray added.

Windmills Junior School received a ‘good’ rating in all categories, including ‘overall effectiveness’, ‘quality of education’, ‘behaviour and attitudes’ ‘personal development’ and ‘leadership and management’.

The inspection team was Deborah Gordon (lead inspector), Francois Walker and Mrs Fisher-Pink.

The Ofsted report said pupils are happy and that ‘the school’s values of kindness, respect, courage, curiosity, independence and perseverance underpin pupils’ daily school experience’.

“Pupils understand that bullying has no place because it conflicts with the value of kindness,” said the report, adding that children also know what to do if they have any worries and are confident staff will help them.

The report said pupils also behave well and are polite and respectful, which has created a ‘well-ordered environment in which pupils thrive’.

“Pupils respond well and are keen to do their best,” it continued, saying that they work carefully and hard and ‘relish the challenges that their teachers set them’

“They achieve well across the curriculum and are well prepared for the next stage of their education,” it added.

The report went on to say that the leaders at Windmills Junior School have taken ‘effective action’ to improve the school since its previous inspection.

“They have designed an ambitious and carefully ordered curriculum that provides a high-quality education for pupils,” said the report.

“Effective subject leadership supports the implementation of the curriculum well,” it said, adding that subject leaders have started to monitor the impact of their subjects but this process has been ‘hampered’ by the Covid pandemic.

The report also mentioned that ‘leaders have placed global citizenship and the school’s values at the centre of their curriculum’.

Mrs Murray said: “We are very pleased that the Ofsted team saw the quality of education at The Windmills.”

She thanked the governors, teachers, teaching assistants, the office staff and supportive parents.

“It is the team effort, everybody working together, that makes the place a success,” she said.

Ofsted visited the school on the first Tuesday and Wednesday after the autumn half term break.

“The process was rigorous but fair and the school team were amazing at being able to articulate and provide evidence of the strengths of the school and the priorities that we had been working on since the last inspection,” said Mrs Murray.

She added that the children deserve recognition as well.

“You can’t ask for children to do more than their best so it’s brilliant that that’s what we see every day,” she said.

“One other thing we’ve really worked on since the last inspection, which did come through in the Ofsted report, is the reading culture of the school,” said Mrs Murray.

“That has been a big development push for us over the past few years,” she said, adding that the governors spoke positively about how well the children read and how interested they are in reading.

People can read the report online at www.windmills.w-sussex.sch.uk.