July 25 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 10, 2014
A Great Yarmouth school’s determined battle for recognition has finally been rewarded with a clean sweep of “goods” from Ofsted.
The body that sets standards in the classroom placed St Nicholas Priory Junior School in special measures three years ago, angering headteacher Mark Adams who vigorously appealed against the judgement.
The report is the latest in a series of victories for the school which was named most improved school in Norfolk and the 50th most improved school in the country in 2012, ousting the “inadequate” cloud.
It praises Mr Adams, a headteacher of more than 20 years, for his “clarity and vision” which is helping children to attain the highest standards in maths and English and to develop a love of learning.
The glowing report says: “The headteacher knows how to improve the school and make it the best it can be. He is the driving force behind the leadership team, who share his vision. Leaders, managers and governors now have an accurate picture of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. There is a robust plan in place to improve the school further.”
The 381-pupil school in town’s compact urban heart is said to have a “relentless focus” on improving reading, writing and maths and was handed “good” judgements across all four categories as well as overall.
And in a total turnaround from the damning 2011 report inspectors indicated that an “outstanding” judgement could be just around the corner if marking and a focus on younger children is improved.
Elsewhere pupils are praised for their good behaviour and their positive attitudes to learning.
The report says: “Pupils are proud of their school and take pride in their work. They are polite and respectful to each other and to visitors to the school. Through school initiatives such as the school council and the contribution that the learning ambassadors make, pupils are responsibly helping one another to learn well.”
The school is said to have developed a rich and thought-provoking curriculum, although a small number of parents feel that homework is not well set.
Mr Adams said the issue over Year 3 would resolve itself as the school became a primary school in 2015 with the ability to “grow our own.”
He said: “I am really, really pleased because the governors have stuck by me through special measures. Myself and the governing body said we did not want to become an academy and there was some pressure to do that.
“The journey started when we were put in special measures but I felt quite strongly that we were good and we had the evidence to prove that in terms of pupil progress. Now we have three sets of results that show we have sustained improvement. Every school strives to be outstanding and we believe that some aspects of what we do are outstanding. The children have done very well and worked really hard.”