Burnley school praised for nurturing pupils and improving learning standards

A school has been praised for living up to its motto "To be the best that we can be."

Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 5:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 5:16 pm
Mrs Marney and some of her pupils celebrate the recent Ofsted report at Ightenhill Primary School in Burnley.

A school has been praised for living up to its motto "To be the best that we can be."

Ofsted inspectors said that under the "strong, confident" leadership of headteacher Mrs Kate Marney everyone at Ightenhill Primary School was striving for the best.

Mrs Marney was also praised for creating a school community that was both caring and nurturing and where children were proud of their school.

The report said that a "sense of belonging" had been created and it was a strong feature of the school in Alder Street.

Inspector Sue Eastwood described this as a "real accomplishment" considering it was a large and growing school.

She said: "Together with the leadership team you work determinedly to improve pupils' achievement and to ensure that they flourish both academically and personally."

The school continues to be rated as good after the short inspection in March.

Staff were described as sharing the headteacher's visions and aspirations and the report pointed out there was a strong sense of the staff team working to achieve the very best for students.

The report pointed out that one of the school's strengths was the broad and interesting curriculum on offer for pupils who were "hooked" into their learning by asking them questions they have to investigate such as "What was it like to be a slave? "

Pastoral support was also highlighted as another strength of the school with adults knowing pupils extremely well and being attentive to their emotional well being.

A range of support systems in place let pupils know they have someone who they can always turn to and they are listened to and valued.

Parents were also positive about the school and many said their children enjoyed going there and they found staff "approachable and caring."

Families also commented on the regular communication they have with the school and the many opportunities to be involved in school life.

Safeguarding was also described as effective with detailed records that are kept rigorously and up to date training carried out frequently.

At the last inspection in 2013 the school was recommended to work to ensure that as many pupils as possible achieve at greater depth and higher standards.

Mrs Marney and her team were praised for successfully adapting to the new national curriculum and "firm foundations" have been established in learning for pupils in reading, writing and Maths.

Pupils were described as benefitting from good teaching which has focused on closing gaps in their learning and giving them the framework to be successful learners.

As a result the proportion of pupils attaining the expected standard, particularly in writing and at the end of key stage two in English and Maths, significantly improved from 2016 to 2017.

The school has a large group of disadvantaged pupils within the school and inspectors praised how the range of support available to those who needed to catch up had been a success with the proportion of those pupils attaining at the expected standard in English and Maths doubling from 2016 to 2017.

The report said one of the next steps for the school was to continue to raise the attainment and accelerate the progress of disadvantaged pupils.

Another area of concern at the last inspection was the percentage of persistently absent pupils which was higher than average.

Pupils whose attendance is less frequent are identified quickly and monitored as part of the school's safeguarding and pastoral support and, as a result, the proportion of pupils persistently absent has reduced considerably compared with last year.

The school's higher than average number of pupils subject to a fixed term conclusion has also reduced.

Inspectors have said another step for the school is to continue to develop and challenge pupils to apply their skills, especially those who are not the most able, to have a deeper and enduring understanding of what they are learning.

Speaking about the report Mrs Marney said: “We are really pleased with the inspection report and feel it recognises the hard work that has gone into making the school even better than it was at the last inspection.

"There is a great sense of achievement felt by the whole staff team and a real desire to keep improving even further.

"We were particularly pleased that the inspector recognised the caring ethos in school and that the children feel safe and well-cared for.

"She commented that our children were ‘delightful ‘ and, of course, we agree."