Major turnaround at two Sheffield primary schools sparks ‘good’ Ofsted ratings

Two Sheffield primary schools which have undergone major improvement in recent years have now been rated as 'good ' by Ofsted inspectors.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 12:00 pm
Updated Friday, 27th December 2019, 12:19 pm

Acres Hill Community Primary School, in Darnall, was praised by the education watchdog which found the school to be ‘good’ during its most recent inspection on November 6 and 7 – a turnaround from the previous ‘inadequate’ judgement three years ago in which it was placed into ‘special measures’.

Meanwhile Manor Lodge Primary was deemed to be 'good’ during the most recent inspection on November 19 and 20, the first time in 12 years that it has not been rated as either ‘satisfactory’ or ‘requires improvement’.

Both schools are governed by the Sheffield South East Trust (SSET), a Multi-Academy Trust with five member primary schools – including Phillimore Community Primary, Wybourn Community Primary and Norfolk Primary - which formed in December 2016 in order to sponsor Acres Hill Community Primary School, after its ‘inadequate’ judgement.

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Head teacher Cath Whittingham with pupils celebrating the 'good' Ofsted rating at Acres Hill Primary School.

Joanne Bradshaw, CEO of SSET, said: “We are very proud of the recent Ofsted judgements and feel this reflects what we know to be true about our schools. The pupils, families and staff work in partnership to provide the best learning opportunities, ensuring all achieve well. We know, as a group of Sheffield schools, we are stronger when we work together.”

Four schools under the SSET – Wybourn Primary, Phillimore Primary, Manor Lodge Primary and Acres Hill – were inspected over a five week period in October and November with all being judged ‘good’ in what were the first inspections since the formation of the trust.

Ofsted inspectors identified that pupils feel safe at Acres Hill and that they care and respect each other while being polite and friendly to visitors, and their behaviour is said to have dramatically improved.

Leaders are also said to have high expectations for pupils, wanting the best for all, with an effective curriculum that makes learning memorable.

Acres Hill Primary School pupils Evie Lyons, year 6, and Aaron Olufajo, year 4 pictured in the library

In addition to this, inspectors said staff know their pupils well and understand individuals’ needs and although pupils’ attendance has significantly improved leaders know this needs to be better.

Headteacher Cath Whittingham said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection, which recognises the amazing amount of hard work that has gone into moving the school from special measures to being judged good in all areas.

“I am extremely proud of the children and their families, who have supported Acres Hill throughout the improvement journey. I am also incredibly grateful to the hugely committed staff team who have worked tirelessly to create a happy and thriving community school.”

Inspectors said that leaders at Manor Lodge have high expectations of what pupils and the community can achieve, noting a strong relationship with parents and the surrounding community.

Manor Lodge Community Primary School pupils celebrating the 'good' Ofsted judgement

Pupils, including those who join at various points throughout the school year, are said to learn well while being encouraged by teachers to be curious, resilient and confident.

The curriculum is carefully designed with pupils revisiting previous knowledge regularly and reading is said to be central to the ethos of the school.

Headteacher Bob Cuff said: “All of the staff and governors at Manor Lodge Community Primary school are exceedingly proud of our pupils. The children are a credit to the community and their parents/carers. Ofsted recognised the hard work that staff, governors and parents have done, together, to ensure that our pupils receive the best education possible.”

The many wider opportunities that all the schools offer were also praised by inspectors alongside provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Manor Lodge Community Primary School pupils pictured reading in the library