Dinnington primary school praised for transformation two years after it was rated inadequate

A Dinnington primary school has achieved a good rating from Ofsted across the board just two years after it was described as inadequate by inspectors.

By Natalie Wakefield
Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 9:40 am

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Lidgett Lane was visited by Ofsted on May 26 and 27.

Inspectors Tim Scargill-Knight and Jean Watt spoke to staff, parents and pupils at the school as well as meeting with school Governors and the diocese.

In a report released on July 9, they said: “Pupils enjoy attending school. They are happy and feel safe. The quality of education that they receive has improved significantly.

Pupils at St joseph's in Dinnington celebrate their much improved Ofsted report. Picture by Dean Atkins

“Leaders have rapidly improved the school, including the quality of education that pupils receive. Leaders have adopted a new curriculum for all subjects.

“This sets out, in a carefully planned sequence, the knowledge that pupils should learn. Staff have received training to help them to teach the new curriculum well.”

The inspectors rated the school as good in every category which includes the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and early years provision.

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A previous report conducted in July 2019 found the school to be inadequate or requires improvement across all categories.

Executive headteacher and strategic lead for Learning Unlimited Teaching School Alliance, Andrew Truby, is an experienced national leader of education who joined the school in February 2020 - just before the first pandemic lockdown.

He said: “As soon as I visited the school and had lunch with the children, I knew that it was my moral purpose to help St Joseph’s to move forward.

“The children were working well below the curriculum expectations for their year group and they did not feel that they were capable of anything else. The staff had lost confidence in their own abilities.”

Mr Truby praised the work of headteacher Laura Atkinson, who has helped implement a carefully constructed improvement plan at a time when schools were closed to the majority of pupils during the first lockdown.

The school teamed up with St Wilfrid’s English Hub to focus on reading as the gateway to improving students’ achievements in all subjects.

Ms Atkinson said: “The support of the English Hub has been beneficial to all staff: senior leaders, teachers and teaching assistants.

Parents have engaged in remote learning opportunities and, though resources signposted via the Hub, have been able to engage in their child's reading journey.

“Our reading lead has received quality training opportunities from the hub and has had opportunities to share good practice from other settings which have been helpful in embedding our consistent approach here at St Joseph's.

“Additionally, we have engaged in the reading for pleasure through the English Hub, and this whole-school approach to developing a love of reading and shared book talk.”

Mr Truby added: “I would like to thank the staff for their incredible effort to turn the school around and for the personal sacrifices that they have made and to the team of specialist leaders of education at Learning Unlimited TSA, who have been working closely with the teachers.

“We had a really ambitious school improvement plan and we simply had to shift our mindset so that we could achieve this despite the pandemic.

“We now offer an extremely ambitious curriculum for all subject areas and the children are engaging with it enthusiastically.”

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