Exeter infants school is good and getting even better, says Ofsted

primary schoolchildren

Posted on: 2 May 2017

An Exeter infants school is providing a good quality of education and enjoying swift improvements under a new management team, according to independent education inspectors.

Whipton Barton Infants and Nursery was judged to be a good school when inspectors last visited in 2013. Now – four years later – a new inspection by the school standards agency Ofsted concludes that Whipton Barton is continuing to provide a good education but also undergoing swift improvement.

It comes as the school announces it will be doubling its successful nursery and extending the age range and opening hours.

The new Oasis Day Nursery will have 80 places from September following a £500,000 building programme to provide brand new facilities. It will welcome children from two years old and will extend its opening hours from 9am to 3pm to 7.45am to 6pm to be able to accommodate more working families.

Ofsted inspectors say the school’s improvement is down to the new federation partnership with Whipton Barton Junior under the executive head Gary Read, the ‘highly competent’ head of school, Gemma Wills, and a knowledgeable team of middle leaders.

Lead Ofsted inspector, Tracy Hannon, says parents are pleased with the improvements taking place.

She concludes: “There have been year-on-year improvements in pupils’ outcomes at Key Stage 1. Pupils are on track to reach, and often exceed, the standards expected for their age.

“Leaders have been particularly successful in improving literacy outcomes at Key Stage 1. Reading is now a strength of the school.

“In 2016, outcomes in reading and writing were above the national average with a similar proportion of pupils achieving the high standard as those nationally.”

Ms Hannon says children get off to a flying start when they begin at Whipton Barton and she praises the effectiveness of teaching, learning and assessment in the early years.

“In 2016, the proportion of children reaching a good level of development was well below the national average,” she says. “This deficit has been tackled robustly. Effective teaching has led to speedy progress so that children are back on track.Learning environments are purposeful and well organised and children happily learn alongside each other.”

Across the school she says pupils appear happy, keen to learn and show their enjoyment of school through their high engagement in lessons. Consequently, pupils’ attendance has risen and is at least in line with the national average. Persistent absence has fallen dramatically and is now below the historic national average.

She says to get even better the school should ensure that the early years provision is consistently strong, boys’ writing is improved and middle  ability pupils recall and apply their knowledge of facts accurately and rapidly in maths.

Executive head Gary Read said: “This report is testament to the hard work of all our staff and the excellent relationships that exist between all members of the school community.
“We are not complacent, though. We know our Infant and Nursery  School is good but we want it to be even better. Our new, teacher-led Oasis Day Nursery is an important part of this development.”

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Posted in: Education