Remarkable turnaround for Niton Primary School
Governors and parents have joined with the pupils and staff of Niton Primary School to celebrate achieving a ‘good’ rating following its latest Ofsted inspection. Just four years after being judged as ‘inadequate’, the lowest grade, inspectors now acknowledge that leaders at the school ‘demonstrate an absolute belief that all pupils deserve the very best’.
Executive Headteacher Duncan Mills, who was appointed in September 2014, commented; “I am extremely proud of the incredible hard work and achievements of the staff, the children and also for the continued positivity and support of our parents and carers. The community here refused to give up on this school and we have faced our challenges together. A united front of governors, parents, teachers and support staff all determined to deliver the highest standards possible.”
The inspectors were particularly impressed with the students’ positive attitude towards their learning: ‘Pupils are eager and enthusiastic participants in lessons, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.’ This is attributed to the teachers who act as positive role models, ensuring that they plan interesting lessons with a sharp focus on developing pupils’ basic literacy skills. In fact, the school is now rated as above the national average for Key Stage 1 and 2 in reading, writing and mathematics.
Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Dave Stewart was delighted with the result; “I have always felt that Niton was a good school, even at its lowest point. Duncan and his whole team should be proud of this achievement. It’s a beacon for any school and a shining example of what can be achieved in a relatively short space of time. I made an election commitment to work towards all Island schools achieving a ‘good’ status and we are well on our way. Congratulations Niton Primary School.”
The report highlighted that ‘this relentless drive for improvement is shared by all’ and Chair of Governors, Rev. Ian Lovell paid tribute to all those involved; “This excellent result was richly deserved and reflects the consistently high standard of commitment and dedicated hard work given so unselfishly by staff under Duncan’s leadership. Governors, parents and all those involved in the life of Niton Primary School are determined that we are going to become an outstanding school over time and we feel that this inspection is a really good signal of the progress that the school has made.”
In June 2016, Niton Primary School formed the Cornerstone Federation together with The Bay Church of England Primary School in Sandown with Mr Mills, as the Executive Headteacher, working across both schools. This was valued by Ofsted: ‘Their work across the federation is improving staff development opportunities and training, so that best practice can be shared to improve teaching and quickly raise standards.’
Parents have remained very supportive of the school and provided many positive inputs to Ofsted as part of the inspection: ‘They recognise the effective work being done by leaders and governors and are rightly proud of the clear improvement in the school. This widely shared view is expressed in one parent’s comment: ‘My child is happy and well balanced. It is a supportive and caring environment which is a great asset to the local community.’
“Overall I feel this is a very good day for Niton. I hope that parents in our catchment area and beyond will see Niton Primary as the school of choice for the upcoming year. We would both encourage and welcome their interest,” concluded Mr Mills.
The Ofsted report rated the school as ‘good’ in all five categories from ‘Effectiveness of leadership and management’ to ‘Outcomes for pupils’, other notable comments from the full report include:
Children make a super start to their education in the early years. The safe, bright environment engages children’s interests well.
Parents overwhelmingly value this drive and commitment to improvement. This view is summed up by the comment: ‘The staff are dedicated and this shines through in every aspect of school life.’
Leaders are passionate about pupils’ academic progress as well as ensuring that the school does everything in its power to broaden pupils’ experiences of the wider world.
Governors demonstrate an aspirational vision for the school and have a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and its areas for development.
Pupils feel very safe and cared for and those spoken to were unanimous in their views that they are proud of their school and enjoy attending. Parents appreciate this and rightly reflect this in their commentary to inspectors. One quote captures this sentiment well: ‘I think Niton Primary stands out for the way the children look out for each other and work together. The school has a real sense of community.’
Children feel safe because warm relationships are an overwhelmingly positive experience in Reception. Standards of behaviour are very good. Children play together confidently, show concern for each other, take turns and share the rich learning resources available to them.