School hailed for rise in standards

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AN INNER-CITY Sheffield primary school has received high praise from inspectors - who have rated it a good school with outstanding features.

Pupils at Arbourthorne Primary School were found to have exceptionally low starting points when they began school.

But they made good progress to reach average standards in English and maths by the time they were ready to move on, according to the school’s latest Ofsted inspection.

Progress was now accelerating and attainment levels were rising as the school’s recent improvements gathered momentum.

Headteacher Vanessa Langley was praised for her pursuit of the highest possible standards and inspectors said her integrity was transforming the school community.

The curriculum was judged to be excellent and led directly to the children’s outstanding spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Standards of teaching were good and sometimes outstanding, with excellent relationships between staff and pupils.

However, the inspectors said a lack of modern technology was restricting the youngsters’ ability to carry out independent research and sometimes lessons moved too slowly when teachers spent too long giving instructions, not giving children enough time to develop their reading skills.

The pupils’ behaviour was good and their learning in lessons was not disturbed.

The children said bullying was rare and everyone got on well, whatever their background.

Staff were dedicated and their hard work was recognised by parents who saw the school as calm, safe and friendly.

Ms Langley said her school was now having a significant impact on improving the life chances of children in the community.

She said: “The impact of the work we have carried out over the last three years is paying off in rising standards.

“We’ve gone from being well below nationally-expected levels to achieving standards that are above them - with pass rates up by 24 per cent during that period.

“There is still work to do in ensuring we are nearer the national average and we are confident results will be further improved this year.”

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council Labour member for arbourthorne, said the report was fantastic.

He said: “It shows how much can be achieved when everyone works together.

“There are still some things the school needs to work through, but this represents a great start.”

n For the full report, visit