The effectiveness of leadership and management has been praised at Marshland St James Primary and Nursery School.

An inspector from Ofsted – the Office for Standards in Education – also praised the behaviour of children and the early years provision, but concluded that the school required improvement.

He said headteacher Sarah Durrant had high expectations for all staff. “The headteacher has made her high expectations for the quality of teaching, learning and assessment clear.

“Where practice needs to improve, the headteacher and trust provide the correct balance of challenge and support. She is accurate in her evaluation of teaching and learning and she identifies strengths and weaknesses precisely during lesson observations,” said the inspector’s report.

He said the Diocese of Ely Academy Trust (DEMAT) – which runs the school – supported leaders well. “Trust staff have recently worked with the English and mathematics leaders to introduce new approaches to how these subjects are taught.”

Governors and the trust board were also highlighted for their significant contribution to the vision and ambitions for the school.

“The trust supports the headteacher well. Trustees share the accountability for pupils’ outcomes. Directors from the trust visit on a termly basis and carry out rigorous and detailed monitoring of the teaching, learning and leadership.

“The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Governors help to create a strong culture for keeping children safe,” the report added.

The inspector also praised the behaviour of pupils, adding: “Pupils are well mannered and polite. Their movement and behaviour around school is calm and sensible.”

The quality of teaching, learning and assessment overall was found to require improvement. The inspector found it had improved in Years 1 and 2 because of effective action by leaders, but added: “While improving, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment still varies widely between classes and between subjects.”

Early years provision at the school was found to be good. The inspector said the early years environment was stimulating and exciting for the children because of vibrant displays and the range of equipment available.

“The early years leader is passionate about driving up standards and she ensures that teaching assistants are deployed well to support and challenge children with their learning.

“Children are confident and happy due to the excellent care and guidance they get from staff. They behave well and their conduct towards each other shows empathy and tolerance,” said the report.

The school was encouraged to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and to raise attainment in reading and mathematics.

Headteacher Sarah Durrant said: “This school has been on a considerable journey in the past three years – moving from being an inadequate school to where we are today. The staff, pupils and parents have worked extremely hard to move this school forward and that hard work is now paying off.

“I am very proud of our children. Their positive behaviours and attitudes towards their work are visibly demonstrated in this report.

“We know we are still on the way to being a ‘good’ school, but this report clearly shows we have strong foundations on which to build our continuing school improvement.”

Andrew Read, Chief Executive of DEMAT, added: “The ongoing journey of improvement made by the school is due to the hard work of children, staff and parents, and I am delighted that the trust has been able to lead and support such improvements since being asked to take over the school from the local authority. We all continue to work together in partnership to make the improvements still deemed necessary, and value Ofsted’s recognition of the progress made to date, and the validation of those areas for improvement that we continue to focus on.”