A COMMUNITY effort has helped a primary school secure a good rating from Government inspectors.
Springfield Academy, part of the Education Village Academy Trust, Darlington, has been recognised as good for the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and early years provision, an improvement on its previous inspection grade.
Principal Richard Gartland was delighted with the ‘good’ rating which he attributed to the hard work of the whole school community including staff, pupils and their families.
“We really do value working with parents and carers who support fully the education of the children,” he said. “The result is particularly welcome as it is set against a difficult backdrop of the pandemic and is testimony to the commitment and dedication of our school staff team.”
The Ofsted report described the 240-pupil Springfield Academy as ‘a warm, welcoming school’ where leaders had created a ‘calm, but stimulating, environment for learning’.
“Pupils enjoy coming to school,” it stated. “They listen carefully to the adults who work with them. Leaders expect the very best of every pupil. Pupils are particularly proud when their achievements are publicly celebrated in weekly ‘SHINE’ assemblies.”
SHINE embodies the school values of all children being ‘Successful, Happy, Informed, Nurtured, Embracing Community.
The report noted: “They love choosing a prize, such as a new book, from ‘the table of gold’.”
Inspectors also praised pupils for being polite, for welcoming visitors and for exhibiting good manners.
“Pupils, and children in the early years, consistently say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’,” the report said. “Older pupils are excellent role models for younger pupils. Year 6 pupils enjoy helping others at lunchtime. All pupils say they feel safe.
“Pupils and families are at the centre of the school’s work. Parents and carers are overwhelmingly positive about the school. They praise the support that they receive from staff. One parent reflected the views of many when they said, ‘All staff reach out to families; everyone has helped my child grow into a fantastic young child’.”
Inspectors noted that leaders had thought carefully about the order in which the content of the curriculum was taught. “Lessons are well sequenced,” it stated. “Pupils build up their knowledge from one lesson to the next. Teachers deliver the planned curriculum well. They successfully adapt the curriculum for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Teachers encourage pupils to use precise subject-specific vocabulary in lessons.”
Leaders give the teaching of reading a high priority, inspectors noted. “Early reading is taught well across reception and key stage 1. There is plenty of extra help for pupils who need it. Most pupils learn to read fluently by the end of key stage 1. Pupils read books that are well matched to the sounds that they know.”
Inspectors highlighted that leaders had created a harmonious environment in school. “Pupils know that any adult in school will help them if they have worries,” the report said. “Pupils work and play together well. Pupils show respectful and tolerant attitudes.”
Inspectors acknowledged that school leaders were conscious that COVID-19 had had a negative impact on pupils’ well- being.
“They have rightly prioritised developing pupils’ understanding of how to look after their own mental health and well-being,” the report said. “There are additional opportunities to support those pupils who need more help. For example, some pupils are invited to the ‘chillaxing’ club to support their emotional well-being.”
Inspectors highlighted the school’s strong leadership. “Leaders aim to provide the very best education for all pupils. Leaders ensure that the school is a place where everyone is valued. Staff are united behind leaders and are proud to work at the school.”