Primary school which was nearly forced to shut rated 'outstanding'
PUBLISHED: 07:23 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:51 06 September 2019
A young primary school which faced closure in its first two years has been ranked outstanding across the board by Ofsted.
Charles Darwin Primary School in Norwich achieved the top grade following inspectors' first visit in June.
Their report said leaders and managers - supported by governors and Inspiration Trust, the school's sponsor - had created a culture of high expectations for staff and pupils and a "caring, nurturing environment".
They added: "The principal has been steadfast in her determination to establish a culture where ambitions are high for all."
Pupils' behaviour was said to be excellent in lessons and around the school while relationships between pupils and with adults were considered "exceptional".
Inspectors said leaders had been "uncompromising" in their pursuit of high-quality teaching.
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All pupils, including those who speak English as an additional language, those with special educational needs and disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, were said to make strong progress thanks to "highly effective" teaching and good use of additional funding such as pupil premium.
Parents told inspectors their children were happy in the school and well looked after.
However, inspectors said levels of absence were "still too high for a small number of pupils" despite action by leaders to improve attendance.
The free school opened in Rose Lane in September 2016.
It was almost forced to close in 2018 as its initial two-year lease came to an end, but Norwich city councillors voted by the narrowest of margins to let the school keep the building as its permanent home.
In June it held a party to commemorate a major refurbishment, with new facilities including outdoor play areas and an indoor sports hall.
Principal Jo Brown said: "It has been an incredible three years at Charles Darwin, from building a school with two classrooms to now a high-achieving school. I am so proud of the staff, children and parents who have supported the school with an unwavering belief in our high expectations about what can be achieved."
Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, added: "The school is already making a real difference to its community and families."