Withycombe Ofsted ‘outstanding’

THE legacies of the former head and deputy head teachers at Withycombe Raleigh Primary have been assured after the school was graded outstanding for the second time in succession.

Malcolm Elliot and his deputy Lynne Jones both retired this year – and their swansong has been almost perfect exam results from education watchdog Ofsted.

Chief Inspector David Edwards and his team sat in on 22 lessons and 15 teachers over two days.

He concluded: “Withycombe Raleigh is an outstanding school… (staff) at all levels have…built upon the school’s previously outstanding performance in all key areas…”

And, in a subsequent letter to the children, he told the pupils: “We were particularly impressed with your very good behaviour and your enthusiasm to learn lessons…”

Mr Edwards said the pupils enjoyed their lessons and appreciated the effort teaching staff had made to make learning ‘fun’.

He said many of the lessons were ‘excellent’ because of teachers’ ‘extensive’ subject knowledge.

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He said the school had only one ‘relative weakness’ in that teachers marking needed to do more to inform pupils how they can improve.

Despite new head teacher Stephan Powley only being in post for a short time, inspectors said he had ‘a clear understanding’ of the school’s myriad strengths and areas for improvement.

Pupils’ behaviour was ‘exemplary’ while ‘rigorous analysis’ of pupils’ exam results meant that each pupil’s learning needs had been tailored to them.

“Consequently, national test results for 2010 demonstrated a significant improvement in English and mathematics,” he said.

Mr Edwards said the school was ‘stunning’ and every part of the school’s grounds was used to benefit learning and the school was the centre of the community, a hub for a wide range of services for local people.

One parent told Mr Edwards: “This is a fantastic school; we feel our children are privileged to attend.

“There are some truly exceptional teachers who seem to be able to bring out the best in every single child.”

Mr Edwards added: “In essence, the findings of the inspectors reflect the views of the parents.”