Horndean school bucks trend by going up Ofsted grade

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A JUNIOR school has bucked the trend by going up an Ofsted grade despite tougher inspections.

Inspectors found that pupils are excellent readers and enjoy a curriculum that fuses a range of subjects at Horndean CoE Juniors.

The school is now rated good with outstanding features – despite the introduction of much tougher criteria which have seen the majority of newly-inspected schools in the area downgraded.

Kate Utting, headteacher of nine years, said she was pleased with the result, and predicted Key Stage 2 results this summer would propel her school into the outstanding league.

Horndean’s results have already proved to be smashing national averages, particularly in reading.

Last year, 93 per cent of 11-year-olds achieved the expected Level 4 compared with 84 per cent in England.

Even achievement in maths, which was the reason inspectors gave for not awarding an ‘outstanding’ grade, is head and shoulders above the majority of schools.

The school can boast an 89 per cent good pass rate in the subject, compared to the national rate of 80 per cent.

Mrs Utting explained a new approach to maths using practical activities ‘with sticks and paper cups’ as the starting point was making a dramatic impact.

She said: ‘It’s an improving picture in maths. A lot of the maths teaching the inspectors saw was categorised as outstanding.

Inspectors applauded the school’s cross-curricular events which Mrs Utting calls ‘big outcomes’.

These include an Egyptian museum stocked up with artefacts like Tutankhamun’s tomb which the children created, wrote about and presented to their parents by conducting tours.

Another example highlighted in the report was pupils comparing supermarket food prices to calculate the cheapest way of putting on a party.

Mrs Utting said: ‘I’m blessed with wonderful teachers and support staff.

‘It’s a credit to them that we have good results.

‘This Ofsted is especially gratifying in the current climate. We had been warned by the inspector that the new framework was very challenging.

‘It’s good to know we’re bucking the trend.

‘Now we’re aiming for outstanding.’