Epworth school moves out of special measures

Children of Epworth Primary Academy celebrate Ofsted success.
Children of Epworth Primary Academy celebrate Ofsted success.

An Isle school which was deemed as inadequate less than two years ago has been given a ‘good’ classification by Ofsted.

Epworth Primary Academy was visited by the government education watchdog last month and major improvements were found.

In her report, lead inspector Angela Headon said that it was due to the drive and rigorous approach by principal Julia Gallagher that there had been significant improvement in all aspects of the academy’s work since the previous full inspection in February 2013.

She said that it was a good school because: “Pupils achieve well and make good progress overall from their starting points.

“Pupils’ results at the end of Year 6 are similar to the national average, with achievement at higher levels above average in reading and writing.”

She continued: “Children in the early years provision get off to a good start and also make good progress.

“The quality of teaching is good. Skilful questioning and well-targeted activities ensure that pupils are challenged well.

“Teachers use a wide range of methods to engage pupils in learning, so they have every opportunity to success.

“Pupils’ behaviour and safety are good.

“Pupils have good attitudes to learning; they are responsible and show care and respect for one another.

“They are well cared for by academy staff.”

Principal at the Fieldside school, which caters for 262 children aged between four and 11-years-old, Mrs Gallagher said: “Naturally I am elated with the Ofsted report which reflects the dedication, drive and ambition of all staff at Epworth Primary Academy.

“To move from special measures to good is quite a leap and we shall build on the success we have achieved by continuing to move from strength to strength.

“Our children deserve the absolute best and we are relentless in ensuring that all children at Epworth experience just that.”

To improve further and make the top Ofsted grade of ‘outstanding’ staff need to address the variation which still exists in the progress pupils make over time, particularly in mathematics and for some younger pupils in Key Stage 2.

It was also felt that there is not enough outstanding practice to ensure that pupils are able to reach and sustain the highest levels of achievement over time.

During the visit inspectors observed 17 lessons, including two joint observations with the principal. In addition, inspectors listened to pupils read and scrutinised a full range of pupils’ written work. Meetings were held with the principal, teaching staff, pupils, members of the governing boards, including the chairman, and sponsor representatives of Isle Education Trust.