'True team effort' helps transform Sheffield primary school

Gleadless Primary School pupils
Gleadless Primary School pupils
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Staff and pupils at a Sheffield primary school are celebrating a successful 2016 after boosting their Ofsted rating.

Inspectors judged Gleadless Primary School to be good after their visit at the end of the year, after it ‘ required improvement’ in 2013.

The report praised teaching and governance, and said children were safe, well behaved and had positive attitudes to learning.

It said pupils were making strong progress in reading, writing and maths, and were well prepared for secondary school.

Inspectors set targets to encourage the school to further improve, such as reducing the number of term time holidays taken, and working more closely with parents.

Executive headteacher Vanessa Langley was commissioned by Sheffield Council to work with Gleadless Primary after its inspection in 2013.

Gleadless worked closely with Arbourthorne Community Primary School, which is judged as good with outstanding leadership, to turn its fortunes around.

Mrs Langley said: “When I first came to support the school I asked the parents, staff and governors to help me during our weekend ‘days of action’.

“I wanted the community to have a school they could be proud of.

“However, the building was very run down and the team were very disappointed with the Ofsted judgement. Morale was low but at the same time there were some super staff with a positive ‘can do’ attitude and it’s those staff that stayed to see the school through the worthwhile journey.

“The community rallied and we repaired and repainted what we could.

“Improving the way the school looked was a good starting point. Everyone started to realise the possibilities and even with very little budget to work with they started to feel part of an important project to transform and improve rather than accept the status quo.”

Gleadless and Arbourthorne federated in 2015, allowing staff and pupils to work more closely together. Partner schools such as Sheffield High School have provided further opportunities for children at Gleadless.

Mrs Langley said the latest Ofsted inspection result was a ‘true team effort’, adding: “I am proud of the way the whole team at Gleadless and Arbourthorne rose to the challenge of making this school good from a very low starting point.”