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From inadequate to good in five years for Swaffham Prior Primary School

A primary school that was graded inadequate by Ofsted inspectors five years ago has been praised for its values of “peace, compassion, community, perseverance, wonder and hope”.

Inspectors say that Swaffham Prior C of E Primary School, part of the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), is now good in all areas.

Headteacher Helen Bartley and pupils celebrate the Ofsted result for Swaffham Prior Primary School. Picture: Swaffham Prior Primary School
Headteacher Helen Bartley and pupils celebrate the Ofsted result for Swaffham Prior Primary School. Picture: Swaffham Prior Primary School

The school was rated as inadequate in 2017 and by 2018, it had been taken over by DEMAT and Helen Bartley was appointed headteacher.

“We have faced a few challenges along the way, so this Ofsted result is fantastic news for staff, pupils and our wider school community,” Ms Bartley explained.

She continued: “I am delighted that it notes the school’s meticulously designed curriculum, which the team here is dedicated to continually improving to ensure the very best education for our students.

“We are also very proud of the peaceful, happy environment we are creating to enable pupils to learn and flourish as well as feel safe.”

Inspectors found that the school has implemented a broad curriculum that is ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs, and that leaders have created a calm environment where pupils can learn.

The Ofsted report highlighted that reading is a priority across the school, with well-trained staff working effectively to encourage fluent, accurate readers. It also noted that the school’s curriculum is well planned and that there are good systems in place to identify gaps in learning, such as a daily ‘on the boil’ session which the pupils say “help them to remember what they have learned”.

Additionally, inspectors said the way leaders work to support the personal development of pupils is a strength, with children able to talk about the many trips and visits as well as sporting events they experience.

They also enjoy learning about fundamental British values, such as democracy, through voting for leadership roles within the school and the report found pupils to have a ‘well-rounded understanding of the world beyond their own community’.

To improve further, the school must ensure that systems are in place to enable staff to check how well pupils are learning.

Ms Bartley added: “We strive to give our pupils as broad a range of educational experiences as we can and encourage them to be confident and resilient in all their learning.

“We like to bring learning to life wherever we can, using trips and outside speakers. The feedback we get about how engaged our pupils are makes us very proud. I am thankful to the whole team here as well as the support from families and our wider community.

“This success is very much down to everyone working together to achieve a good Ofsted result. We take on all feedback and remain committed to being the best we can be, together, while continuing to build on our high standards.”

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