School Celebrates Top Marks
A BARRY school is celebrating after inspectors confirmed it had become top of the class in improving standards – removing its ‘special measures’ status.
Oak Field primary school, in Gibbonsdown, Barry, suffered a blow to its fortunes when Estyn, Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, inspectors branded it “unsatisfactory” following a June 2011 visit.
The school had suffered severe damage in 2007 when floodwater surged through the it, and pupils and staff were temporarily housed in portable classrooms until repair works were complete. And the report had acknowledged the headteacher was on sick leave prior to and during the inspection, and the Vale Council’s primary adviser, installed seven weeks previously, was effectively in charge.
Oak Field supporters, alongside two other Vale schools, recently secured the future of the primary following a successful campaign when faced with the threat of closure.
The report recommended raising literacy standards, planning the curriculum more coherently and systematically, providing effective and consistent leadership at all levels, staff training and managing resources more efficiently. It also suggested improving the governing body's understanding of benchmarked performance data to increase its level of scrutiny and challenge.
An acting head teacher and chair of governors was installed and following the survival win £150,000 was awarded for improvements to the school building’s reception area. Now all eight of the report’s recommendations have been fully addressed and Estyn has confirmed the excellent progress made over the last two years has brought the school out of ‘special measures.’ Acting head teacher Lynne Bowen-Jones said: “All the staff felt over the moon and walking around on cloud nine.
“We felt all the emotions at once – delighted, relieved, relieved, excited, tearful and extremely proud of ourselves.
“Pupils, staff and parents have a school recognised as ‘good’ once again. They have a school that is operating to increased standards, better performance and engaging classrooms to educate pupils to their full potential."
She added: “With the new front entrance planned for the school this summer, and this breaking news about how good Oak Field Primary School is once again, I am confident this report will attract new families and pupils.
“The school has completely changed in its ethos, teaching expectations and whole school provision. It has been a relentless journey to get Oak Field out of being in the category of ‘special measures’. All staff within the school have worked extremely hard to address all recommendations and many weekends have been devoted to ensuring we were given this rewarding report!
“I would like to thank the school governors and parents for all their support as well, which has been so invaluable to us and has helped us to successfully achieve this wonderful news.”
Chair of governors, Linda Ware said: “I am delighted that HMCI has agreed that the school will be removed from Special Measures and all recommendations have been fully met. This is reflective of all the hard work that has been done by the staff, the Governing Body and the pupils. It has been a very tough couple of years and I am thrilled that this work has been recognised.”
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