A school which was in “a bit of a pickle” a few years ago has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
St Peter and St Paul Primary, in Buckhurst Road, became the only primary school in Bexhill-on-Sea to be given the top rating after it underwent a two-day inspection on July 7/8.
Headteacher Angela Hamill said she was delighted by the news and added she was “privileged to lead such a wonderful team of staff and children”.
A report penned by inspectors Clive Close, Stephen Long and Nick Rudman praised everything from the governors and leadership to the behaviour and achievements of the children. The trio noted “most teaching is outstanding and never less than very good”.
The school was last inspected in 2010 when it received a ‘good’ rating, and five years before that it was in special measures.
Mrs Hamill said the growing success of the school could be put down to a number of things and added: “I think it’s the approach we have taken.
When I arrived here, the school was in a right old pickle. I built around me an amazing team of middle leaders. You can’t do it on your ownAngela Hamill, headteacher
“When I arrived here, the school was in a right old pickle. I built around me an amazing team of middle leaders. You can’t do it on your own.”
The work of those middle leaders was highlighted in Ofsted’s report as having “a big impact” on improving the quality of teaching at St Peter and St Paul’s.
It stated: “They take their responsibilities seriously and are seen by senior leaders as future headteachers.
“Because of outstanding leadership, staff morale is high. Positive attitudes flourish and, as a result, pupils are confident and enthusiastic about coming to school.”
Pupil achievement was described in the report as ‘outstanding’, with the most able children constantly challenged to do their best and the gap between disadvantaged students and their peers having “closed rapidly”.
When it came to the use of pupil premium funds – money given to schools to ensure disadvantaged children did not fall behind – Mrs Hamill has provided advice to other primary schools about effective ways of spending the cash.
She said: “Our children who are disadvantaged can perform as well and often better than those who are not.”
Around one-third of the children at St Peter and St Paul are eligible for pupil premium, which amounts to around £100,000 – some of which is spent on training for the teachers.
Mrs Hamill said: “We have a very creative approach to it. The first wave is to make sure all of the children have got quality teaching. Any children that fall behind, we have booster lessons for them.”
That dedication to teaching even stretches to the children’s parents, with the school offering them maths and English lessons as well as a 10-week course about how to work with their children at home.
Regarding her advice to other schools, Mrs Hamill added: “People have to make it work for their school but we say be creative and look at ways you can make learning as exciting and stimulating as possible.
“Our approach is to make sure our children feels this school belongs to them.”
With the report giving the summer holidays a particularly sunny feel, Mrs Hamill said the grading “reflected the enthusiasm and love for learning demonstrated by the children, as well as the dedication, hard work and expertise of all of the staff”.
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