Dales primary schools given ‘good’ ratings after needing improvement

Two Dales schools are celebrating after getting a big tick from inspectors.

Middleham and Spennithorne CE Primary Schools have both been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted after being found to ‘require improvement’ at their previous inspections.

The grade was achieved across the board in all areas scrutinised by the team – education quality, behaviour, personal development, leadership and early years.

Inspectors noted that pupils “love coming to school” and were wowed by the “safe, welcoming and family feeling” at both sites.

Headteacher Marie Mann said: “The schools, which operate as one organisation split across two sites, were praised for having high expectations of all pupils and preparing them well for their next steps in education, with children working hard, listening well and playing well together.”

She said reading and maths were particularly highlighted for praise thanks to an “ambitious and well-sequenced curriculum, specialist training for staff and extra support for pupils where required”.

Early years staff were found to be “kind and nurturing”, helping youngsters to settle well into school life, and in all year groups children are given a range of opportunities to develop their talents and wider interests.

Pupils learn important safety messages and safeguarding systems are effective.

Mrs Mann said: “The grade marks an impressive turnaround for the schools and Ofsted noted that incisive self-evaluation, precise planning and strategic changes have led to recent improvements.

“I am so proud of the pupils, staff, governors and wider community in achieving this amazing result.”

The inspectors for several area for improvement.

They said systems to check pupils’ prior knowledge were not consistently well established.

The reports added: “Occasionally, some teachers do not have the information they need to inform
their decisions about what pupils should learn next.

“Occasionally, teachers do not emphasise the most important knowledge that pupils should learn.

“As a result, some pupils do not retain this knowledge and develop the foundations they need for future learning.”

Chair of Governors Sam Wilmington said: “I am so proud that the hard work of pupils, teachers and school leaders has been recognised in this report.

“Both schools play an important role in the local community so it is especially heartening to see them thrive.

“My thanks go out to our school parents and carers who have continued to support the changes that have led to this fantastic outcome.

“We remain dedicated to providing quality of education in a caring and compassionate setting and are committed to delivering further improvements over the next year and beyond.”