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The Priory CE Primary School has Ofsted rating bumped up to 'good' from 'requires improvement'

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A CHRISTCHURCH school has improved its Ofsted rating to ‘good’.

In 2018 Priory CofE Primary School was graded ‘requires improvement’ but this time inspectors noted “determined” senior leaders are improving the establishment.

“In previous years, the curriculum did not include everything that pupils needed to know and remember in every subject,” stated the report. “Leaders are having a positive impact on putting this right.”

Priory pupils celebrate the grade
Priory pupils celebrate the grade

Head teacher Paul Ruffle said the inspection report was “testament to the positive difference a community can make when it comes together for a shared goal”.

He continued: “Pupils, staff, governors and parents have worked hard, and this is an achievement for everyone to celebrate.

“We are rightly proud of our pupils and the way they live out our school values, and now they can be justifiably proud of the school they attend.”

Ofsted praised staff for prioritising pupils’ mental and physical health, and “strong, nurturing support” built children’s confidence and made them feel happy and safe.

“Consequently, the oldest pupils demonstrate a striking maturity and a drive to learn everything on offer,” the report continued.

“Pupils live out the school’s values of aspiration, forgiveness, love and respect with pride,” inspectors said. “They form great friendships with each other right from Reception.”

A wealth of activities, including astronomy, water safety and curling, had “enriched the curriculum”, Ofsted said, and many pupils had gained strong leadership skills through sports competitions.

Pupils with special educational needs were said to thrive at the school, and leaders were doing well to address the shortfall in pupils’ early language and reading ability caused by the pandemic.

Safeguarding policies were also singled out for praise, with staff quick to raise concerns and leaders swift to take action and work with external agencies.

Pupils across the school thrived in mathematics, and the science curriculum was said to be “well sequenced”.

However, work to revamp the wider curriculum had “stalled” due to the Covid pandemic, said inspectors. “Therefore, the content of some of the curriculum is not as well thought out as it could be.”

Most teaching was based on strong subject knowledge and an understanding of how the curriculum progresses year by year, said the report, but teaching was not always “adjusted precisely enough”.

“Leaders do not have enough oversight of this,” Ofsted said. “As a result, sometimes misconceptions in pupils’ learning are not picked up swiftly. In addition, a minority of teaching does not go into the depth that leaders expect.”

To improve further, senior staff were advised to check the impact of the curriculum in every subject.

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