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Suffolk school Great Barton CE Primary Academy, near Bury St Edmunds, rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in first inspection in 14 years





A primary school that had gone 14 years without an Ofsted inspection has been praised for providing an environment where pupils can ‘thrive and flourish’, the watchdog has said.

Great Barton CE Primary Academy, near Bury St Edmunds, was inspected by Ofsted on November 14 and 15 and rated ‘good’ overall, with ‘outstanding’ features.

Prior to this the school was last inspected by Ofsted in January 2009, when the inspection framework was different and before the school became an academy, and was rated ‘outstanding’.

Great Barton CE Primary Academy was praised by Ofsted when it inspected the school in November
Great Barton CE Primary Academy was praised by Ofsted when it inspected the school in November

The latest inspection report said the school’s ‘warm and caring environment provides a safe space for pupils to thrive and flourish’ and the range of activities to promote their wider personal development ‘goes beyond what many pupils may normally get to experience’.

Great Barton Primary, which is part of the Thedwastre Education Trust, achieved ‘good’ for overall effectiveness and in the categories of quality of education and leadership and management, while behaviour and attitudes, personal development and early years provision were found to be ‘outstanding’.

Headteacher Claire Ratley said: “We were very pleased to have our Ofsted inspection in November, having been exempt from inspection until November 2020.

Great Barton CE Primary Academy was rated 'good' with 'outstanding' features
Great Barton CE Primary Academy was rated 'good' with 'outstanding' features

“Since the school's last inspection 14 years ago and having seen several big changes to the inspection framework and a complete change of the school from 150 pupils to 210 pupils, we welcomed their visit.”

She added: “I was very pleased with the result and with how the whole school team came together to show the excellent work the school does on a daily basis. I was particularly proud of how well the children shared their views, opinions and knowledge when talking to the inspection team.”

Key findings from the report include:

→ Adults set high standards for pupils’ learning from early years upwards. Pupils live up to these expectations. They always try their very best in lessons and achieve well;

→ Opportunities for pupils to take part in activities to promote their wider personal development are in abundance. It goes beyond what many pupils may normally get to experience;

→ A deep culture of mutual respect runs through the school. Pupils, including the very youngest, behave extremely well;

→ The school’s curriculum provides pupils with a well-curated path to success as they move through the school;

→ Children in the Reception class learn a rich and precisely designed curriculum;

→ More widely, pupils in Years 1 to 6 benefit from teachers with strong subject knowledge. Teachers explain new concepts clearly, so pupils understand well;

→ Lessons are calm and rarely disturbed. Pupils have fun in class but respect when it is time to concentrate on their work.

→ The school’s established personal development programme supports pupils as they grow and develop. This highly considered and deliberate approach helps pupils to develop their character and independence over time;

→ The school provides effective support for teachers and keeps a close eye on their workload. Staff are united in their approach to provide the best education they can for pupils;

→ The open flow of information between the board of trustees and school governors ensures that they all have the knowledge needed to carry out their statutory roles effectively. Governors and trustees visit school regularly to quality assure school improvement.

The report said pupils with SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities) were well supported and guided by adults and, in the main, learn well.

However, to improve, Ofsted said the school needs to provide support and training for staff to ensure targets are precise and activities are carefully adapted to support pupils with SEND to achieve exceptionally well.