Drive to improve village school pays off

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The "quiet determination" of a new leader at a small village school in north Cumbria has helped lead to improvements.

Greenhead School headteacher Sarah Hutchinson and pupils after the school's recent Ofsted report.
Greenhead School headteacher Sarah Hutchinson and pupils after the school's recent Ofsted report.

Government inspectors say Sarah Hutchinson's drive to improve Greenhead CofE School "is both impressive and successful".

Findings from a two-day visit from the regulator Ofsted judge the small school, which has just 35 pupils, to be a "good" one.

"Good" is the second best judgement inspectors can give.

In 2015 they had found the school to "require improvement".

The improvements come despite inspections getting tougher since Ofsted last visited the school two years ago.

Key findings from inspectors include:

* Governors provide clear, strategic direction for the school and support and challenge the headteacher.

* Leaders have benefited from support from the Diocese of Newcastle and Durham and the local council.

* Teachers have high expectations with lessons carefully planned to capture pupils’ interest and develop their knowledge and understanding. As a result, pupils learn well and make good progress.

* The most able pupils are competent, skilful writers and have a deep understanding of mathematics.

* Children in the early years thrive.

* The school is a caring community and pupils have a strong sense of belonging.

* The school environment is calm and there is a real sense of joy and wonder in learning.

* Parents are very supportive of the school.

One parent told inspectors: "As parents we can see that big improvements have been made."

Mrs Hutchinson said: "I am so proud that the combined hard work of staff, children, governors and parents, as well as many other stakeholders has been recognised so positively.

"This report forms the basis for even greater improvement, and I am confident the school will remain one of the best in the area for years to come."

Pippa Milburn, chairman of the school's governing body, has thanked the community for its support.

She added: "The support of local authority consultant Judith Meek and the Diocese of Newcastle have strengthened our Christian ethos, and embedded a good solid structure for teaching and learning.

"This is an exciting time and I feel proud and privileged to be part of the leadership team taking this school forwards."

Friday, July 7, 2017 at 8:18AM
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