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Ofsted praises East Hunsbury Primary School as it continues to be a Good school following inspection

East Hunsbury Primary School, part of Northampton Primary Academy Trust, continues to be a Good school – that is the verdict of Ofsted following a visit by their inspector in April, and publication of their report on the school last month.

 

The 429-pupil school, which includes a 47-placed specialist unit for children with significant learning difficulties, was originally judged to be Good in July 2013 and this most recent inspection is the first since the school converted to become an academy in November 2017.

 

The purpose of the visit, known as a section 8 inspection, was to confirm that the school remains Good – any evidence that the school should receive a higher or lower grade would have seen it referred to a full section 5 inspection.

 

Positive comments in the Ofsted report, which can be viewed in full here, include:

 

  • Pupils enjoy attending this welcoming and inclusive school. There is a strong sense of community. Pupils follow the school’s ethos of being ‘respectful, ready and safe’.
  • Leaders have high expectations for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Pupils live up to these expectations.
  • Pupils enjoy all the opportunities the school offers them, including forest school, and after-school clubs. Pupils readily take on extra responsibilities, such as being reading ambassadors. They feel proud of the contributions they make to school life.
  • Teachers encourage pupils to be aspirational and to think about how they can make a difference in their community. This helps pupils become responsible, caring citizens.
  • Parents and carers are positive about the work of the school. They appreciate the caring environment in which their children learn.
  • Leaders are passionate about providing the best learning experiences for children. They have ensured the curriculum is broad and ambitious.
  • Governors and leaders of Northampton Primary Academy Trust make a positive contribution. They know the school well and offer effective challenge and support. They work effectively with leaders to ensure that the school continues to improve.
  • Staff are positive about the support they receive from leaders. They appreciate the consideration given to their workload and well-being. Staff say they are ‘one big family’.
  • There is a strong culture of safeguarding. Staff are well trained and receive regular updates. Staff know each pupil well. This means that they can quickly spot concern.

 

Over the course of two days the inspector met with Headteacher Kathryn Pennington, senior leaders and a range of staff, as well as members of the governing body and representatives of Northampton Primary Academy Trust. Pupils’ behaviour in lessons and around school was also observed, and parent/carer responses to Ofsted’s online survey, Parent View, analysed.

 

“This incredibly positive, and indeed glowing, report is testament to every single member of our staff and our children,” said Kathryn, who started her new role just one day before the Ofsted inspection. “The inspector has had the opportunity to witness first-hand our mission to be a community-driven school that delivers an ambitious, inclusive and enabling curriculum in which all children achieve exceptionally high standards from their given starting points.

 

“There are really specific examples in the report about how we help children succeed across a range of subjects, including our approach to curriculum from the early years to Year 6 and devising lessons that build on pupils’ prior learning, how the curriculum effectively supports their personal development, and our commitment to putting reading at the heart of the  curriculum. The parent comment highlighted in the report about how teachers go above and beyond for the children here is just wonderful.

 

“We are also thrilled with the recognition of how pupils with SEND are fully included in all aspects of school life, how staff in our specialist unit are expert practitioners and provide tailored support to make sure all pupils with SEND achieve well, and how pupils in our specialist unit are able to succeed. We are one school, mainstream primary and specialist unit aligned, where children all learn from each other and a community where diversity is embraced and celebrate. As the report says we are ‘one big family’, and we will now move the school forward under our ‘Be kind, work hard, believe’ motto.”

 

Louise Whaites, Chair of Governors at East Hunsbury Primary School, said: “I am delighted with this report and the insight that it provides on our amazing school. The comments about the children are particularly heart-warming: how they behave well, work hard, have positive attitudes and feel safe, and embrace both the opportunities of school life and also make a contribution to the local area as ‘community champions’. As well as the school staff, I would like to thank my fellow governors whose own positive contribution, effective challenge and rigorous support is also acknowledged by Ofsted.”

 

Julia Kedwards, CEO of Northampton Primary Academy Trust, said: “We are extremely proud of the educational provision at East Hunsbury Primary School and pleased that this has been commended by Ofsted. This report recognises the excellent leadership, teaching, learning and curriculum, and the hard work and commitment of the wonderful staff who work there.”

 

Reception places at East Hunsbury Primary School are still available for September 2022. For more information, please contact the school office on 01604 677970 or office@easthunsburyprimary.org.

 

Statement From The Children’s Society On Ofsted Report Of Sexual Harassment In Schools And Colleges

 

In response to the Ofsted findings of the prevalence of sexual harassment in our Schools and Colleges, Iryna Pona, Policy Manager at The Children’s Society, said: “These worrying findings lay bare how a culture of sexual harassment and abuse has become normalised not just in our schools, but wider society.  

 

“Ofsted’s recommendations are important first steps for the Government, schools and other organisations involved in protecting children and they must be implemented without delay if we are to turn this situation around. 

 

“Schools need better training and resources to educate children about healthy relationships and to identify and respond to instances of sexual bullying and violence in partnership with safeguarding leads in local councils. 

 

“But this isn’t just a matter for schools. We are also urging the Government to invest more in services to help victims and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviour. There needs to be a focus on prevention and early intervention rather than simply tackling the issue and supporting children when things reach crisis point. 

 

“We are concerned that risk assessments of children by social care risk don’t currently include peer on peer sexual violence as a factor to look for, meaning this important opportunity to offer young people support may be missed. 

 

“We know that inappropriate sexual content online contributes to the normalisation of sexual violence in schools and in communities. We would urge the Government to make good its pledge to make the internet safer for children and introduce age verification for websites displaying adult content without further delay. Internet providers must take decisive action where sexual abuse or harassment happens online.” 

 

CST responds to the speech from Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools

In her speech to the annual conference of the Confederation of School Trusts, Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools paid tribute to Trusts which she said have taken a wider leadership role through the pandemic, – supporting each other, their communities and the wider sector. But she also cautioned that it is Ofsted’s job to remain agnostic about school structures.

 

Ms Spielman cited evidence from the inspectorate’s Autumn Interim Visits to Schools, which is summarised by Ofsted in the article entitled, The trust in testing times: the role of multi-academy trusts during the pandemic, published in January 2020.

 

 

 

CST asked Ofsted to delve a bit deeper into the ways in which trusts are supporting their schools through the pandemic. Ofsted opened an additional evidence card during the Autumn interim visits. For the school leaders Ofsted spoke to, the support of their trust was crucial. They told Ofsted about support with safeguarding, interpreting COVID-19 guidelines, developing remote learning and integrating this with the curriculum.

 

 

Daniel Muijs (then head of research at Ofsted) and Karl Sampson, the article’s authors, conclude: “One of the aims of bringing schools together in trusts is to provide them with levels of support and collective learning that would not be achievable for any school on its own. These findings show how important this can be to schools’ resilience in the most challenging of circumstances, and how being part of a greater whole builds that resilience.”

 

This is a significant piece of evidence which supports CST’s position that all schools should be in a strong and sustainable trust. It aligns with the announcement that the Secretary of State for education made at the conference on Wednesday in which he outlined his vision for all schools to be part of a multi-academy trust.

 

Ms Spielman also confirmed that Ofsted is prioritising monitoring schools rated less than good. She said that if Ofsted finds that school has significantly improved, then Ofsted has the option to carry out a full inspection so that schools will be able to get a new grade, rather than it being another monitoring visit.

 

 

She said that Ofsted will be inspecting a small number of good schools that haven’t been inspected for a long time and are outside their inspection window. She stressed that the vast majority of good or better schools will not be getting an inspection this term.

 

 

She emphasised that Ofsted will take time before an inspection starts to understand a school’s individual circumstances, and the effect COVID has had on the school and children. And she confirmed that Ofsted will be using external data differently, taking into account how old it is, and will not be taking teacher assessed grades into account.

 

 

 

Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts said:

 

“We were pleased that Ofsted responded to our request to look more carefully at how schools in trusts have been supported by their trusts during the global pandemic. This evidence is corroborated by research that we have undertaken jointly with the University of Nottingham.

 

“Amanda Spielman is right that there is a conversation to be had about how we can help persistently weak schools to improve.  It is our belief that strong and effective Trusts do provide resilience against failure, as Amanda Spielman noted. This is because Trusts a collaborative framework that intentionally develops a knowledge-building approach across their schools. As Ms Spielman has said, “strong trusts help schools move up a gear, if you like, and are quick to act if a school goes into reverse.”

 

“In reflecting on next steps, Ms Spielman said: “inspection isn’t just a ‘thing’. It should evolve – just as the education system evolves.” We agree. And we look forward to constructive discussions with the inspectorate as the system evolves.”