Ofsted report puts Spalding school on upward curve

Good progress: Spalding Primary School executive headteacher Tom Verity celebrates a good Ofsted report with pupils. Photo: SG260214-117TW
Good progress: Spalding Primary School executive headteacher Tom Verity celebrates a good Ofsted report with pupils. Photo: SG260214-117TW
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An “outstanding” headteacher has been credited with turning round the fortunes of a struggling primary school.

In just over a year as executive headteacher, Tom Verity has led Spalding Primary School from a “requires improvement” rating by education watchdog Ofsted to “good” in all areas.

In its report, Ofsted said “rapid action” since Mr Verity’s arrival in December 2012 had led to “significantly improved teaching,” and “good progress” in reading, writing and maths.

But Ofsted also said progress was needed in other subjects and “effective systems” were needed to monitor staff and pupils’ progress with the sports funding it receives.

The school, in Spalding’s Woolram Wygate, was in the doldrums after a “satisfactory” report – meaning it needed to improve – at the end of 2012 was quickly followed by its headteacher Diane Scott going off sick.

Mr Verity was drafted in to the role of executive head in a two-year collaboration with Pinchbeck East Primary.

As headteacher of the Pinchbeck school he had been pivotal in the school achieveing an “outstanding” rating in 2012 – just a few short years after it was placed in special measures.

He now holds the title of exceutive head for both schools.

He said: “It’s been a real team effort and we’ve moved forward in the past year by focusing on teaching and learning, making sure there is a consistent and cohesive approach to both.

“We strive to improve all the time and it’s not something we do just because Ofsted has been here.

“We are all committed to seeing Spalding Primary School move forward and ultimately to it being recognised as an ‘outstanding’ school.”

In their report on Spalding Primary School, Ofsted inspectors Vivienne McTiffen, Janet Watson and Mike Williams rated it good in all areas.

The report said: “Rapid action taken by leaders since the previous inspection (in September 2012) has significantly improved teaching and raised pupils’ achievement.

“Pupils now make good progress in reading, writing and mathematics, teaching is good and teachers make sure that work matches the range of ability in the class.

“They have high expectations of pupils’ learning and behaviour, pupils say they feel safe and there is a strong sense of community where pupils and staff are valued.

“Not all pupils do as well in writing as they do in reading and mathematics, but teachers’ marking is better in English and mathematics than it is in other subjects.

“The headteacher is the driving force behind improvement, he has united staff at all levels in a comon sense of purpose and they are fully involved in moving the school forward.

Meanwhile, in a joint letter to parents, executive headteacher Tom Verity and chairman of governors Paul Sharman said: “We are, of course, delighted with the outcome (of the Ofsted inspection) which reflects the hard work and dedication of all the staff, governors and pupils at the school.
“We have come a long way in a very short period of time and we are determined to continue our drive towards being recognised as an outstanding school.
“We are very proud to be able to say that Spalding Primary is now a ‘good’ school.”