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‘Proud’ headteacher praises school’s progress despite ‘requires improvement’ rating

PUBLISHED: 14:33 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:33 19 May 2020

Castle Hill Junior School headteacher Gemma Andrews (centre) has praised the school's progress despite a new Ofstead report. Picture: CAROLINE HOME/CASTLE HILL

Castle Hill Junior School headteacher Gemma Andrews (centre) has praised the school's progress despite a new Ofstead report. Picture: CAROLINE HOME/CASTLE HILL

CAROLINE HOME/CASTLE HILL

A headteacher has praised her junior school’s “incredible progress”, despite inspectors rating it as “requires improvement” for the second time in three years.

Headteacher of Castle Hill School Gemma Andrews. Picture: GREGG BROWNHeadteacher of Castle Hill School Gemma Andrews. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Castle Hill Junior School, in Ipswich, achieved “good” in three out of four Ofsted categories, to the delight of “proud” headteacher Gemma Andrews - despite failing to improve its overall rating.

The report said that the school is a “vibrant and fun place to be”, listing maths, music and problem-solving activities as its strengths.

One pupil described going to school as “like a rainbow over your head”.

Mrs Andrews said: “Every day, it is a privilege to work in our school with the wonderful children and staff and together we have achieved a great deal.

“The inspection report recognises the incredible progress that the school has made, highlighting some of the successes that we have achieved together.

“We have increased our combined measure - those children who achieve a SATs score of 100 or above in reading, writing and mathematics - by 19% since 2017.

“Finally, we must celebrate the success that we have had in writing bids to develop our facilities, enabling us to have an outside gym, fully functioning sensory room and jabadao room.

“In recent weeks our staff have excelled at working in such different circumstances and the bond that our community has is very special.”

The school was the first primary in the country to achieve the Trauma Informed and Mentally Healthy School award.

Pivotal Behaviour also awarded it Silver status and Young Carers gave it a Silver award.

However, the report did raise concerns over the school’s quality of education, including the teaching of reading, which it says is “work in progress”.

The report reads: “The school has been through a tricky patch with many changes.

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“This includes several headteachers and a transfer of academy trust.

“The teaching of reading is a work in progress. This is also true of some subjects where the curriculum is in the early stages of implementation.

“Leaders know this and are acting to address weaknesses.

“Pupils speak highly of such learning, but they have limited prior knowledge.”


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