High achievements at fast-improving Exeter primary school
Children at an Exeter primary school have shown sustained improvement over the last few years as teaching and learning have got notably better.
St Thomas Primary School was judged satisfactory by education inspectors just two years ago.
But now every aspect of life at the 202-pupil school is good or better.
And that improvement has come at a time when school inspectors have been getting tougher with their judgements.
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Now St Thomas headteacher Justin Stone says everyone at the school is striving to make it outstanding.
Two inspectors from the school standards agency, Ofsted, spent two days at St Thomas earlier this month and their report has just been published.
It concludes: “Progress and achievement show sustained improvement over time. In all subjects and year groups, pupils make good progress.
“The good teaching underpins pupils’ good achievement. Teachers devote considerable time and energy to ensuring that learning is exciting and engages and inspires pupils.
“Teaching assistants provide effective support to teachers and help pupils to make good progress.
“As a result, pupils are usually engrossed in learning and enjoy their lessons.”
Lead inspector Martyn Groucutt says pupils start school with skills and knowledge that are well below average.
But, by the time they leave in Year 6, the school has ‘added value’ to their education so well that they are achieving national standards.
“This represents good progress, enabling pupils to move on to the next phase of their education with confidence,” he says.
Behaviour in and around school and in lessons is good and this helps to create the positive ethos and learning environment in which pupils thrive.
Attendance is above average and this reflects the pupils’ enjoyment of school, says Mr Groucutt.
The sustained improvement since the last inspection is down to the vision and dynamism of Mr Stone and his leadership team.
This has been enhanced by positive and consistent support from Devon County Council.
“There have been notable improvements in pupils’ achievement, the quality of teaching and the development of a wider, more engaging curriculum since the last inspection,” says Mr Groucutt.
“The governance of the school has improved strongly since the last inspection.”
To continue its good improvement, the inspectors say St Thomas should improve the quality of pupils’ writing and ensure that all teachers’ marking is of a uniformly high standard.
Today Mr Stone said: “St. Thomas Primary is a thriving and happy school in the heart of the community and we are proud that our achievements were recognised by Ofsted.
“The report reflects the hard work of the children, staff, governors and parents and I would like to thank the whole school community for making the school the success that it is.
“It was great that Ofsted endorsed the school’s own priorities as we strive to make our school outstanding.”