Pupils delight in learning and achieve well at Northam school

children playing school

Posted on: 14 September 2015

Pupils at a Torridge infant school love learning and achieve above average results, according to independent education inspectors.

They have rated St George’s Church of England Infant and Nursery School at Northam as good with outstanding features.

Parents told them their children were taught well, made good progress and were kept very safe.

“Inspection findings support parents’ views,” says lead inspector, Joyce Cox, in a new report from the schools standards’ watchdog, Ofsted.

Two Ofsted inspectors spent two days at St George’s at the end of last term and their report has just been published.

It concludes: “Pupils make good progress from their starting points.

“Good teaching and learning have led to above average results in Year 2 tests in reading and maths.

“Teachers know their subjects well and teach with enthusiasm and passion.

“Many teaching assistants are dedicated and highly skilled and make a positive contribution to pupils’ learning.

“Pupils love learning and are very proud of their work and achievements.

“Their delight in learning is one reason for their good progress.”

Ms Cox says children get off to a flying start in the Early Years where they make good progress and achieve well in both Nursery and Reception.

“Parents are very appreciative of the staff’s endless patience, hard work and kindness,” she says.

Across the school, the behaviour of pupils is outstanding and so is the school’s work to keep them safe and secure, she adds.

“Pupils’ consideration for others is impressive. Their behaviour is impeccable at all times,” she says.

Ms Cox says parents’ confidence in the school is high. One parent summed up the feelings of many when telling Ofsted: “I wouldn’t’t want to send my child anywhere else.

“The staff go above and beyond to help each child with whatever they need.”

The inspectors’ verdict is a personal tribute to headteacher Tricia Palk who  retired at the end of the academic year after 24 years at the school – nearly five as head.

Inspectors said she was highly motivated and very capable and worked very closely with her enthusiastic and hard-working deputy, Phil Lewis.

Mr Lewis will now take over as deputy head of both St George’s and St Margaret’s Junior which have joined together in the Northam Schools’ Federation under executive head Claire Cole.

Mrs Palk said: “This report is recognition of the great team work that we have at St George’s.

“The staff, governors and parents are all totally committed to doing their best for the children and go over and above.

“I would like to thank all those involved in St George’s for their support in making it the great school that it is.”

The Ofsted inspectors praise the school’s governors.

“Governors are very knowledgeable about the school….and provide a strong level of support and challenge,” they say.

Ms Cox says there has been a drive to improve pupils’ attainment and achievement in writing and standards are rising steadily.

But to be judged as outstanding across the board, the new leadership team at St George’s must continue the improvement drive so that standards in writing are raised to the same above average standards as in reading and maths.

The Chair of Governors for St George’s, Sheila Bloomfield, said:

“It is pleasing that the skills and dedication to our children’s learning has been recognised and will continue to support the improvement in progress under the schools’ leadership team.”

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