By Betsy Everett
A Wensleydale primary school with just 23 pupils has been judged “outstanding” for the second time in five years in a church inspection report.
West Burton Primary made the top score in all areas: meeting the needs of learners, the impact of worship and effective leadership and management.
Under the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS), inspector Pauline Hilling-Smith spent a day with teachers and pupils, examining every aspect of school life.
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She interviewed parents, governors, the two Anglican priests connected to the school – the Rev Lynn Purvis-Lee of St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, and the Rev David Clark of St Oswald’s, Askrigg – and executive headteacher, Charlotte Harper.
“It is very similar to an Ofsted inspection, in that it is very intense and in-depth, but its focus is entirely on the Christian elements of the school and British values,” said Ms Harper.
The British values are outlined in bright posters on the wall in the school hall: individual liberty, mutual respect, the rule of law, tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs, and democracy.
The report states: “The headteacher is highly effective. She was already the highly respected executive headteacher of two neighbouring schools when the headship of West Burton became vacant three years ago. The West Burton governors made the wise decision to invite her to become their executive headteacher as well and to enter into a formal partnership comprising of three schools. This complexity has been led exceptionally well by the executive headteacher and has been a strength in the development of West Burton as a church school.”
Pupils’ behaviour reflected Christian values and the staff had “high expectations [of] and aspirations” for the pupils.
“Attendance at school is well above the national average and pupils say they enjoy coming to school. They describe the school as being at the centre of their life. The school’s distinctive character ensures that all are included and standards of learning are high.”