Isambard Brunel Junior School staff in tears as Ofsted judge school good for first time in over 20 years
STAFF at a city school ‘broke down in tears’ after an Ofsted inspection judged them as being a ‘good’ school for the first time in more than 20 years.
Online records dating back to 1999 show the school had always been judged as ‘requires improvement’ or – under the previous rating system – as ‘satisfactory’. The new judgement was the culmination of an 18-month journey for headteacher Lucy Carroll, and deputy Sharon Peckham, who were seconded from Meredith Infants and now oversee both schools.
Lucy said: ‘We were all crying when we got the news – even the inspectors. A lot of staff have been here through the difficult times and when I announced the news I don’t think it sank in at first and when it did there were tears. The staff live and breathe everything that goes on at the school and having it confirmed that they are good teachers has really boosted morale and everyone has come back to school so positive.’
The most pleasing aspect of the report for Sharon and Lucy was recognition of improved behaviour and attitudes to learning at the school. During the autumn term there were only 13 incidents of recorded negative behaviour compared to 138 during same period last year.
The report stated: ‘Pupils behave well in class and feel safe. They listen to teachers and to each other attentively, respecting the views of others. Pupils follow teachers’ instructions promptly. The atmosphere in classes is calm and helps pupils to learn.’
Sharon said: ‘Improved behaviour in lessons inevitably leads to improved learning. We have also created an exciting and engaging curriculum which inspires students.’
The improvements have not just been recognised by Ofsted but also by the children themselves.
Year 6 pupil, Samuel Kennedy, 10, said: ‘Behaviour has definitely changed. Children used to wander round doing what they wanted and weren’t really punished.’
Classmate, Jessica Hallett, 10, added: ‘In Year 3 people didn’t used to listen but behaviour is much better now and the lessons are calmer and it’s easier to learn. I’m proud to be a student at this school.’
With the catchment ranked in the bottom 20 per cent for social deprivation the school has always operated in challenging circumstances but after being judged good in all areas the senior leadership team now hopes the community has a school to be proud of.
Sharon said: ‘Fifty per cent of our children are Pupil Premium and face everyday difficulties. They are entitled to a good education.’
Lucy added: ‘We’ve worked really hard to boost the children’s pride in their school. We are currently 60 pupils under capacity and hopefully this judgement can help ensure more parents have faith to send their children here.’