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Work is already in hand to address weaknesses found by inspectors at Runcton Holme CofE Primary School.

An inspector from OfSTED – the Office for Standards in Education – found several strengths at the school near King’s Lynn, but concluded that it required ‘special measures’ because it was failing to give pupils an acceptable standard of education.

He said new headteacher Emma Zeil – who joined the school in October 2017 – had settled promptly and knew what needed improving.

“She has wasted no time in evaluating the school’s strengths and weaknesses and putting in place plans for improvement. She has begun to monitor teaching to guage what works well and what needs improving to inform further staff training and support. Her raised expectations of staff have been made clear,” he added.

However, he said Mrs Zeil – who leads another school nearby – did not have other leaders to help her make improvements.

The inspector found that governors were very supportive and knew most of the school’s strengths and weaknesses, but added that the governing body was too small to carry out all its duties effectively.

Pupils were highlighted for their good behaviour and attitudes to work. “Pupils are pleasant, welcoming and respectful. They conduct themselves sensibly, making the school a calm, purposeful place to be. Pupils behave well in lessons because they have positive attitudes to learning,” said the inspector’s report.

It also stated that arrangements for safeguarding were effective and that pupils felt safe and said school was a friendly place to be: “Pupils are taught how to keep themselves safe, what to do in an emergency and how to stay safe online.”

The report also praised the school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare. “Pupils’ enjoyment of school is clearly evident. They attend well. The school’s ethos promotes pupils’ spiritual understanding well,” it added.

However, overall the school was rated as inadequate and was urged to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, to raise achievement throughout all key stages and to improve leadership and management.

Headteacher Emma Zeil said: “We are all disappointed that the school has been rated as inadequate. However, we have already begun to address the issues raised by the Inspector and we are working collectively with our Governors, our academy trust and the wider community to ensure that standards are raised quickly, and continue to rise – ensuring a high quality education for all the children who attend our school.” 

Andrew Read, Chief Executive of the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust – which runs the school – added: “Clearly the trust is disappointed in this outcome, and will be working hard to address the specific areas identified as needing improvement. Whilst inspectors observed that pupils enjoyed going to the school and felt safe and were well behaved, it is clearly important that we ensure that academic outcomes are similarly deemed good or better. This is our key focus going forward.”