Two inspections in one week - but school staff are smiling

Headteacher Pip Fairweather and some of the children of Ashington First School
Headteacher Pip Fairweather and some of the children of Ashington First School

A school has undergone two inspections in one week – and staff came away smiling.

Ashington First School, in Foster Lane, was three days from a scheduled Church of England inspection when Ofsted announced an unexpected visit.

Any nerves that may have been felt by headteacher Pip Fairweather and her team proved unfounded as the Church’s Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) report gave an ‘outstanding’ rating, while Ofsted’s rating was ‘good’.

Mrs Fairweather said: “It was indeed a shock to have two inspections in one week but a blessing also once we knew the results.”

SIAMS inspector Connie Hughes praised the “passionate commitment” of the school’s staff and governors. She said Ashington’s Christian vision and core values “strongly impact on pupils’ personal development, academic achievements, attendance, attitudes and behaviour”.

Ofsted inspector Richard Blackmore praised the high expectations set by Mrs Fairweather and her team, adding: “The attention given to pupils’ personal development and welfare ensures that pupils leave the school as mature and confident young people.”

Mrs Fairweather said: “Receiving a rating of ‘good’ from Ofsted is fantastic and, I think, reflects our commitment to children’s learning and progress across and beyond all curriculum areas and our determination to ensure the wellbeing and happiness of all our children as well as their academic progress.

“The ‘outstanding’ grade for our SIAMS inspection was cause for real celebration and reflects the hard work, dedication and commitment of all the staff and the support from our governing body to develop our unique identity as a Church school.”

When it came to areas needing further improvement, Mr Blackmore said leaders should ensure pupils made more rapid progress in writing, while the most able students should be challenged to reach the highest standards.

Mrs Fairweather said had been aware of both issues and had begun to address them prior to the inspections.

She added: “Neither rating would have been possible without the total commitment of an amazing staff, supportive governing and parent body but most importantly without our 176 unique, talented, fun loving, caring and amazing children.”

The Ofsted inspection took place on March 21 and the findings were published on May 4. The report can be found here .

The SIAMS inspection took place on March 24. The report can be found here .

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