Parents rave to Ofsted about ‘brilliant’ school

Headteacher Rachel Nunns and some of the Castlewood Primary children
Headteacher Rachel Nunns and some of the Castlewood Primary children

Parents heaped praise on their children’s school when it underwent its first Ofsted inspection in more than four years.

Castlewood Primary, in Castlewood Road, Southwater, was last inspected in March 2013, when it was rated ‘good’. A visit from inspector Bruce Waelend at the end of September saw the school maintain that rating – while one parent told him Castlewood was “brilliant”.

In his report, which was published on November 6, Mr Waelend praised the work of headteacher Rachel Nunns to improve pupil behaviour, eradicate weak teaching and improve the outcomes for the children.

Mrs Nunns joined Castlewood in January “during a period of some turbulence and disruption in staffing”, and made an immediate impact on the school community.

Her work did not go unnoticed by the parents, with one quoted as saying: “Mrs Nunns has made a fantastic difference to the school – it was always a good school but we now consider it a brilliant school.”

Mr Waelend acknowledged the efforts of senior leaders and governors to create a culture based on “high expectations of achievement and behaviour”.

Those expectations certainly reaped rewards, with improvements seen in pupil progress by the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6) and an increase in the number of children reaching a higher standard in writing at the end of Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 1 (Year 2).

The children were also praised as having “excellent attitudes to learning” and told Mr Waelend they enjoyed school and felt “safe and valued”.

Mrs Nunns said she and her team were “proud” of Ofsted’s recognition, adding: “We were also delighted that the report notes on various occasions how our older pupils take care of and provide strong role models for our younger pupils.”

Chairman of governors, Sarah Speed, congratulated Mrs Nunns, her senior team and all staff and pupils, saying the recognition from Ofsted had been “well deserved”.

The success of the school was summed up best, however, by the parents.

One told Mr Waelend: “The school has done a really good job in fostering a real love of learning.” While another added: “My daughter absolutely loves her school, the smile on her face each day when she sees her teacher is absolutely heart-warming.”

To view the report in full, log on to Ofsted's website.