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LEADERSHIP, TEACHING AND BEHAVIOUR ALL PRAISED AT ST ANDREW’S

The strength of leadership, the quality of teaching and the behaviour of pupils at St Andrew’s CofE Primary School have all been praised by Government inspectors.

The team from OfSTED – the Office for Standards in Education – rated all areas of the school in Soham as ‘good’.

They said that since his appointment in September 2016, headteacher Michael Harrison’s effective leadership had ensured the school had improved rapidly.

“The determined leadership of the headteacher has made an enormous contribution to improvements in the school. He is ably assisted by the deputy headteacher and, together, they present a clear plan for the future development of the provision.

Governance was also highlighted as a strength of the school – inspectors said governors were committed to and ambitious for the school, and had a clear strategic view of its strengths and weaknesses.

“They bring a relevant range of expertise and knowledge that helps to provide effective challenge and support. As a consequence, they have been instrumental in improving the school,” said inspectors.

The Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), which runs the school, was highlighted for its careful monitoring of the school. “It has brought systematic rigour to the self-evaluation process through the diocesan review visits which challenge the school to continue to make improvements.

“Alongside this challenge, the Trust has provided bespoke, high-quality support to enable staff and governors to improve the school,” added the inspectors’ report.

Governors had specifically highlighted the good support they had received from DEMAT in recruiting the new headteacher and in a restructuring of staff.

Teaching was also described as good throughout the school. “Teachers have high expectations and plan exciting lessons that build on pupils’ interests. Pupils respond to these expectations and make good progress across the school,” said inspectors.

They also praised the work of teaching assistants, adding that they had a clear role in lessons and supported pupils with special needs and/or disabilities skilfully.

Pupils in turn were highlighted for their good behaviour around school and in lessons. “Pupils’ behaviour is typically courteous and respectful. They are polite and well-mannered in their dealings with their peers or with adults,” said inspectors.

They also said a strong safeguarding culture existed within the school, and that pupils said they felt safe.

The school was rated as ‘good’ throughout, but was encouraged to ensure its marking policy was consistently applied, and to ensure that middle leaders took a more strategic role in the leadership of the school.

Headteacher Michael Harrison said: “It is pleasing to see the invaluable contribution of all stakeholders at St Andrew’s acknowledged in our Ofsted report. The school is certainly on an upward trajectory and this serves as a great indicator of how far we have come, however we have every intention of getting even better.”

Andrew Read, Chief Executive of DEMAT added: “This report reflects the hard work of the whole school community, and is a credit to the children, school leaders, teachers and wider staff. This is a great example of what can be achieved with strong community links, and a single shared purpose.”