The headteacher, governors and academy trust have all been praised in a recent inspection of St Mary’s CofE Primary School in St Neots.
The academy was rated ‘good’ in all areas by Ofsted just eight terms after it joined the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust as a sponsored school in 2015 after it had been judged as inadequate.
Inspectors said the trust and headteacher Ben Hodson, with the support of the deputy headteacher and governors, had set high expectations for staff and pupils. “As a result, leaders have successfully improved the quality of education provided by the school,” they added.
They said governors and representatives from DEMAT were effective, knowledgeable and committed to the school and its pupils. “They have an accurate view of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement,” their report added.
Inspectors found that leaders regularly checked on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in the school. “Arrangements for managing teachers’ performance are rigorous. Leaders hold teachers stringently to account and address underperformance. The trust monitors and supports this aspect of leaders’ work closely.”
The report added that the headteacher and his deputy worked with advisors from DEMAT to ensure they had an accurate view of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement.
DEMAT and the school’s local governing body (LGB) were highlighted for their support of the school – inspectors said this had been effective in improving the standard of education provided.
Inspectors found the quality of teaching, learning and assessment had improved since the school became and academy.
“Leaders’ expectations of teachers and other adults are clear. Teachers have good subject knowledge and know their pupils well.”
Early years provision was also found to be good – Ofsted found that the recently appointed leader had quickly gained an accurate view of its strengths and weaknesses.
Pupils in turn were praised for their good behaviour and attitudes to learning. Inspectors said they were typically polite and respectful to one another and to adults.
The school was rated good across all areas, but was encouraged to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, improve outcomes, further reduce absence and persistent absence and improve the behaviour of a small minority of pupils.
Headteacher Ben Hodson said: “I am exceptionally proud of the hard work all staff and the governing body have put into turning St. Mary’s into a good school. Staff have been exceptionally dedicated to the children of this community in ensuring they get a great education.”
DEMAT Chief Executive Andrew Read said: “I am delighted that the school is now recognised as one of the strongest in the area and parents are choosing to send their children there. The very hard work of staff and children has enabled this to happen, along with strong collaboration with the local community. We all have a school to be proud of.”
Jonathan Lewis, Director of Education for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, added: “I would like to offer my congratulations and thanks to the school for the hard work of everyone concerned and the excellent support provided to the school by DEMAT. Cambridgeshire County Council looks forward to working in partnership with the school and DEMAT to secure continuing improvement in the future.”