Special measures school hailed after complete transformation

The Advertiser Series: Pupils, staff and governors of Kirkby Fleetham Church of England Primary School celebrate their success Pupils, staff and governors of Kirkby Fleetham Church of England Primary School celebrate their success

A PRIMARY school which was placed in special measures has stunned education leaders by rapidly transforming into one where most lessons are outstanding.

In a report published today (Friday, December 20), Ofsted inspectors said Kirkby Fleetham Church of England Primary School, near Northallerton, had achieved a remarkable turnaround in just four terms following a concerted improvement drive by the school’s leaders.

Inspectors concluded the school to be inadequate in every area in June last year, except in the behaviour and safety of its 44 pupils, which was considered to be satisfactory.

They reported a sharp decline in pupils’ attainment and said while children entered the school’s Year 1 with above average skills and knowledge, those leaving Year 6 had below average results.

When inspectors revisited the school earlier this month, they rated 75 per cent of lessons as “outstanding”, said children were making good progress and awarded it an overall grade of “good”.

Councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for schools, said Ofsted’s conclusions were a testament to the ambitions of the school’s leadership and local education authority.

He said: “This is an exceptional turnaround in a short period of time.”

The school’s governing body said the reversal had been achieved through tireless team effort and a combination of a reinvigorated school leadership, support from the council and a partnership with another small village school.

Teachers from Kell Bank Primary, in Healey, near Masham, which Ofsted rated as outstanding in every area in October, were brought in to ensure correct procedures were being followed.

The report states the acting headteachers and new headteacher had “worked very hard to improve pupils’ achievement, the quality of teaching and pupils’ behavior”, since the last inspection.

It states: “Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary in lessons and around the school. They feel extremely safe and know their views and opinions are valued.

“Members of the governing body now challenge the school fully and hold leaders to account for the school’s performance.”

The inspectors praised the school’s broad and balanced curriculum and highlighted the range of sporting activities, including golf, available to pupils and the strong tradition of singing at the school.

Julian Verity, chairman of the school’s governors, said: “The last year has been a difficult time for staff and they have risen to the challenge brilliantly.

“With a new head in place who already has successful school leadership experience we are confident that any child attending the school will have a top quality education in a safe and happy environment.”

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