Primary school celebrates ‘good’ Ofsted report

Pupils celebrate the King's Coronation earlier this year.

Pupils, staff and governors at North & South Cowton Community Primary School are celebrating after achieving an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ following a recent inspection.

The school is part of the Federation of North & South Cowton and Melsonby Methodist Primary Schools.

Inspectors visited the school earlier in the term and were impressed by the “family feel” in the school.

The team of two inspectors complimented senior leaders about the focus of the school and there was praise for the way in which staff know the pupils “exceptionally well”.

Inspectors talked about the positive relationships, respect and teamwork at the school.

Interim executive headteacher Ian Mottram was delighted with the comments.

“We were delighted to hear the inspection team talk about the special family feel of the school, the exemplary behaviour of the pupils and the way in which everyone looks after and cares for each other.

“This is something that we continually strive for and what makes the school unique.

“Talking to the team, they were extremely complimentary about the pupils and could see how happy they are. They talked about the ‘buzz of learning’ created by teachers and staff across the school and the ‘positive attitudes’ that were on display.

“To hear feedback about the impeccable manners and exemplary behaviour was really important as these are key features of effective learners.”

Inspectors found two areas the school could improve.

Their report stated: “The curriculum in subjects such as science and history is not sequenced well enough.

“Knowledge does not build towards clear end points. Staff do not know what knowledge they should assess pupils against. This means that there are gaps in pupils’ knowledge.

“Leaders should continue to review subject curriculums to ensure that there is sequencing of knowledge with well-defined end points. This will enable staff to have a
clear idea of what pupils should know.

“Staff will then be able to identify and address gaps in pupils’ knowledge.”
The report also highlighted “staff turbulence” which meant subject leadership has only recently been established.

“Inexperienced subject leaders do not yet have the skills to review and evaluate the curriculum effectively.

“Leaders should continue to develop subject leader skills to enable them to review and evaluate the curriculum.”

Federation chair of governors, Gail Smith, said the report was an important marker given the turbulence experienced across the federation in recent times.

“Congratulations to Ian and the team at North & South Cowton as well as across the federation for this report.

“The positive feedback outlined in the report is a true testament to the hard work of the school’s staff, the pupils, the wider community and my fellow Governors.  It also recognises the drive and ambition implemented by our executive headteacher, Helen Robinson following her appointment in January 2020.

“Her return from maternity leave will further cement the stability that we now have in place and this was recognised by the lead inspector as an important layer to the growth and development of the school and wider Federation.

“Much has been implemented over the past 12 to 18 months and, despite a number of changes, we have a clear vision and drive to ensure we build on the success achieved.

“The partnership working we have developed under Mr Mottram’s leadership this year has been a key strength and something we will continue to implement as we go forward.”

The inspection was the first ungraded inspection since the school was judged to be ‘good’ in March 2017.

Click to view the report.