Top class turnaround for primary school's inspection

The pupils at Castercliff
The pupils at Castercliff
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Strong and determined leadership, an ethos of high expectations and a strong sense of community were the stand out statements from a Nelson school’s first Ofsted inspection.

Castercliff Primary Academy in Marsden Hall Road has been graded good with outstanding features following its recent inspection, much to the delight of staff, students and parents.

The result marks a complete turnaround for the former Nelson Castercliff Community Primary School, which was rated as inadequate in July 2014.

The school became part of Pendle Education Trust, a multi-academy trust sponsored by the ‘Outstanding’ Nelson and Colne College, in September 2015. Since then significant improvements have been made to the school’s leadership and quality of teaching and learning and the school is now in the top 10% nationally for progress at the end of key stage 2 in reading and mathematics.

Principal Mark Sherwin said: “We couldn’t be prouder of the children, whose behaviour was described as ‘outstanding’ in the report.

“I’m also absolutely delighted for the whole school: staff, parents, governors and our sponsors, Pendle Education Trust. The report reflects the hard work and dedication of everybody here to make the school the very best it can be, and that is summed up by Ofsted saying we have a relentless desire to want the best for all pupils.”

Inspectors praised the school’s leadership team for creating an inviting and exciting learning environment which captures the interests of pupils who benefit from real-life experiences. This includes visits to Burnley FC in the Community’s Whitehough Outdoor Centre and participating in the Pendle Reading Challenge. The school also works towards an inclusive ‘SHINE’ charter; Safe, Here, Inspired, Neighbourly and Excellent, and inspectors found this strong sense of community permeates the school.

Castercliff Primary Academy Executive Principal, Mrs Julie Burnside said: “The Ofsted inspectors found that our pupils enjoy coming to school, have excellent attitudes to learning and their behaviour is fantastic. Pupils told the inspectors how proud they are of their school, which makes us, as a leadership team, feel incredibly proud.”

Inspectors also praised the school’s leadership team and governors for being unwavering in their determination to improve the standard of education for pupils at Castercliff.

Anita Ghidotti, Chief Executive of Pendle Education Trust, added: “Mark, Julie and the entire team at Castercliff Primary Academy have worked incredibly hard to raise standards and accelerate progress at the school and it is fantastic that Ofsted has recognised this.

“Pupils and staff alike should be delighted with what they achieved in the past few years.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson added: “Congratulations to everyone involved with Castercliff Primary Academy for this impressive achievement.

“The Ofsted grading is fantastic confirmation of the hard work everyone associated with the school has put in over the past few years.”

Established in 2013, Pendle Education Trust is a family of schools in East Lancashire sponsored by Nelson and Colne College, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

It continues to grow and there are more than 1,000 children within it at Pendle Primary Academy, Castercliff Primary Academy, Colne Primet Academy and West Craven High School.