Delight as Ofsted praises 'effective progress' at Ipswich school

Mo Rahman, inset, headteacher of Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich

Mo Rahman, inset, headteacher of Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich, which has been praised for its "effective progress" by Ofsted - Credit: Sprites Primary Academy

The headteacher of Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich has said he is "absolutely delighted" after Ofsted inspectors praised the school's "effective progress".

The latest monitoring visit by inspectors took place in March - and comes after the school was  given an "inadequate" rating and judged to require special measures at its inspection in October 2019. 

Inspector Tessa Holledge  said in a letter to headteacher Mo Rahman: "Having considered all the evidence and taking into account the impact of Covid-19 on the school, I am of the opinion that at this time leaders and those responsible for governance are taking effective action to provide education in the current circumstances."

The entrance to Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The entrance to Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

Mr Rahman, who joined the school in January 2020, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the progress we are making as a school.

"In normal times this would be great news, but under a pandemic, it is even more pleasing.

"This is all immense credit to our amazing children, families and staff and we would like to thank everyone for all their hard work and support. Onwards and upwards Team Sprites!”

Sprites was given the lowest grading by Ofsted in 2018, and an improvement plan was put in place. However,  a full inspection in October 2019 found the school was still struggling.

In January 2020 Ofsted sent its second "Minded to Terminate" letter to REAch2 Academy Trust, meaning it could have been forced to cut ties with the school unless improvements were made in key areas.

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Following a visit in November, the March Ofsted visit was carried out remotely, due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. About a third of pupils were learning on site, including SEND pupils and those considered to be vulnerable. 

The Ofsted letter says: "Leaders have established an effective online system that is enabling pupils to learn remotely." It explains how pupils at home and those learning remotely studied the same curriculum.

The letter also highlights the school's teaching of phonics, commenting: "This is helping them to read more fluently. Teachers are alert to the needs of individuals who are struggling to do so. These pupils are benefiting from extra help."

It says: "The trust has provided significant support, which is helping to improve early years provision and the teaching of reading.

"Plans are in place to further develop mathematics and the curriculum in other subjects." 

 The letter says further improvements are needed, including action to "ensure that the work of the new middle leadership team is effective, so that more staff within the school can help drive improvement."

It also says  curriculum plans should be further developed "so that they set out precisely what content will be taught and when, in subjects such as geography, history and science."

A spokesman for the school said: "All of the Sprites team have been working hard and we are really pleased with both of our recent Ofsted monitoring visits.

"They recognise the 'effective progress' we have made as a school since special measures, an especially pleasing outcome under the current circumstances. We are actioning the areas for development and hope to continue our improvement journey at pace."

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