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Brize Norton School gets county's first 'outstanding' rating under new Ofsted regime
PUPILS, staff, parents and governors are celebrating after their school became the first Oxfordshire primary to receive Ofsted’s highest rating under its new, tougher regime.
Brize Norton Primary School, which has 110 pupils, was given a good rating when Ofsted last came visiting in 2007.
But when it was revisited last month, the school was awarded an outstanding grade in every area, making it the first county primary school to achieve the grade since the new regime was introduced in September 2012.
Headteacher Mark Smith, who joined the school six weeks before the 2007 inspection, said he believed the school ethos of belonging was key to its success. He said: “We have children at our school who are excited to learn and show the highest levels of respect and consideration for each other.
“There have been many, many things that have changed and developed over time in terms of the relentless focus on ensuring consistently outstanding teaching across all age groups.
“That has been underpinned by very rigorous monitoring of standards and by a real focus on staff professional development.”
The school employs about 20 people, eight of whom are teachers including Mr Smith, who teaches a Year 2 class each morning.
Inspector Sharona Semlali praised Mr Smith’s “exemplary” leadership, dedicated staff team and highly ambitious governing body. She said: “Whatever their different starting points are, pupils continually make outstanding progress throughout the school.”
This was despite many pupils starting school with skills below those typically expected of children their age, he said.
Chairman of governors Shane Rae said the results represented the culmination of a five-year improvement plan for the school.
Mr Rae, whose children, Poppy, five and Finlay, eight, both attend the school, said it had been “quite emotional” when they heard the results of the inspection in February.
He said: “The extremely high level of dedication shown by pupils, staff and school leaders comes together at Brize Norton Primary to create the perfect setting for teaching and learning to flourish.”
“As governors, we know that it's our teachers and teaching assistants that make all the difference and we have worked hard to ensure the school is resourced well.”
Mr Rae has been a governor at the school for ten years, and said the school had doubled in size since he had first become involved and the roll increased, while still remaining connected to the community.
He added: “As a parent, I find the communication from the school comes with astounding regularity.
I always seem to be getting feedback about my children's progress and I am updated every day about what's happening at the school – and that is just as a parent.”
The school was asked to raise the profile of leaders outside the core subjects of English and maths, and Mr Rae said the school would be starting with ICT.
Sarah Varnom, Oxfordshire County Council's primary standards and progress manager, said: "I am absolutely delighted for the school community and know that this outcome is symptomatic of the school's dynamic leadership and high quality teaching."