Head praises staff after glowing Ofsted

Nick Barrett, Debbie Bradley (Wellbeing Co-ordinator), Karen Alty and Deputy Head Eve Taylor (s)
Nick Barrett, Debbie Bradley (Wellbeing Co-ordinator), Karen Alty and Deputy Head Eve Taylor (s)

A Burnley headteacher diagnosed with cancer seven months ago has praised her “amazing” staff and pupils after their school secured an Outstanding Ofsted result.

Headteacher Karen Alty said it had been a challenging year but she was proud of everybody at Holly Grove Primary School after inspectors gave them a glowing report.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December, so I couldn’t be as visible in school during my treatment,” she said.

“However, the staff and children have been truly amazing. The pupils have worked hard and the staff have continued to provide outstanding support.

“I am extremely proud - it is fantastic to have all our achievements acknowledged by Ofsted.”

Holly Grove provides a specialist learning environment for pupils with a wide range of learning difficulties.

In September it extended its facilities by creating an exclusive therapy suite offering sensory processing and rebound therapy.

According to the report, the formidable team has taken Holly Grove “from strength to strength”, making sure “the school never rests on its laurels” and “that any emerging issues are nipped in the bud”.

It claimed staff had “gone above and beyond” what was expected in tackling areas for improvement identified in 2014 - another “Outstanding” result - and “go the extra mile every day to make sure pupils are ready to learn”.

The report deemed Holly Grove “a warm, welcoming school which pupils, parents and staff are proud to be a part of,” praising the primary for: safeguarding; staff training and development; child happiness and behaviour; and its relationship with families and other schools.

“We’ve had our best report ever,” said Family Support Manager Nick Barrett. “We’re all delighted by the progress we’ve made. We’re now more outwards-looking, not just offering support within school but also to children in the area, whether they are our pupils or not.”

Since 2014, numbers having surged from 70 pupils to 102 for this September.

“That’s been a challenge in itself,” Nick said, “but the extension has allowed us to provide further specialist support. That’s what other schools are wanting to buy into.”