Springfield Junior School in Ipswich impresses Ofsted inspectors - and earns Outstanding rating
Outstanding. That was the verdict given to one Ipswich school as inspectors gave it top marks.
Springfield Junior School has secured the ultimate education accolade from Ofsted with an ‘outstanding’ inspection result.
Comments included “pupils feel safe at school, behave exceptionally well and want to learn” and “they are respectful and kind to each other, to staff and visitors”.
Headteacher Michael Lynch said: “We may be outstanding but we are not perfect.
“We used to be given six weeks’ notice of an Ofsted visit and we spent ages preparing for it. Now they tell us the day before so there is nothing we can do. They found our school just as it is every day.”
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One of the key aspects of Springfield’s success is the teamwork from governors and teaching staff who set themselves targets, assess their performance and monitor progress.
The governors also have a strict set of tests which ensure Mr Lynch and his team work well.
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Ray Startup, chairman of governors, said: “My mother went to this school, I came here and my children came here.
“This is a community school where we do what we promise and nothing was more frightening than making the decision about appointing the new head six years ago.
“I couldn’t be happier with the result. Michael was the right choice.”
The celebration comes as Suffolk County Council has been on the receiving end of a plethora of complaints from headteachers but Mr Lynch is forcefully opposed to this.
“I thank Suffolk County Council for giving me the training, support, advice, budget and careful attention which helps us here create a school that works,” he added.
“In any other job if you are not doing it properly you lose it. It’s easy to sit and moan but it’s your responsibility.”
The school was given a 70-page document outlining the county council’s Raising the Bar objectives and inviting it to manage and test performance and behaviour.
Mr Lynch believes that creating the right, safe, inviting culture inside his school is a key aspect of achieving the results which Ofsted have reported.
He added: “We have some challenging children here but they, and every other child, get the chance to grow with all sorts of experiences.
“Children with low self esteem, children suffering violence, children permanently excluded from other schools, whatever the problem we take it on and help to build their self-esteem.
“From fishing clubs to cookery, from the maths challenge to the samba band, from pottery to their own French café where French speaking children serve meals, every child is given the chance to grow and succeed in non-classroom areas which create the self esteem which is not necessarily arriving in the classroom.
“But it creates that self-esteem and they can then carry it into the classroom.”
The Ofsted report also noted that “pupils achieve exceptionally well across the school and make outstanding progress from their individual starting points” and “most pupils leave school with standards that are well above average in reading, writing and mathematics”.