'Quiet determination' impresses Ofsted

Northolmes Junior School has been rated 'good'
Northolmes Junior School has been rated 'good'

The “quiet determination” of a headteacher and her deputy has led to significant improvements at their school.

Northolmes Junior School underwent a two-day inspection in October and was rated ‘good’ in all areas, having been told to improve in 2015. The rating left headteacher Sharon Anderson and her team “absolutely delighted”.

Publishing her findings on November 6, inspector Catherine Old said of Northolmes: “The school has improved significantly since the last inspection because leaders and governors have focused sharply on raising the quality of teaching and accelerating pupils’ rates of progress.”

She said of Mrs Anderson and her deputy Marie Smailes: “They have established an ethos of high expectation, which has led to substantial improvements to the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in the school. As a result, outcomes for pupils have risen considerably.”

Last year, children’s progress in reading, writing and maths was described as “too slow” – but Ms Old said it now showed rapid improvements and was in line with national figures at the end of Year 6.

She praised the behaviour of the children as well as the interest they took in their work, and the respect they showed to teachers and classmates alike.

Mrs Anderson said: “The inspectors confirmed what we already knew – our children love school and are amazing!”

She described Northolmes’ success as “testament to the relentless hard work and dedication of staff”.

But there would be no resting on their laurels.

Mrs Anderson said: “Despite our fantastic achievement, we are not complacent as we remain determined to build on our many successes and to continue to improve.”

Areas highlighted by Ms Old for further work were: the need to improve support and teaching for pupils with special educational needs, the need to refine the tracking of pupils’ progress, and the need to ensure teaching continued to challenge the children.

Mrs Anderson said: “We had already begun to address the recommendations highlighted in the report prior to our inspection, having appointed a new inclusion leader and brought in a new tracking system.

“We believe we are certainly on our way to bigger and better things!”