Goddard Park Primary School in Swindon welcomes ‘glowing’ Ofsted report

Swindon Advertiser: Mike Welsh with pupils at Goddard Park Mike Welsh with pupils at Goddard Park

GODDARD Park Primary School is celebrating a glowing report from Ofsted after converting to academy status.

In 2010 the primary, which was rated outstanding by the schools’ watchdog, moved to become an academy.

Although the latest report is slightly downgraded to ‘good’, headteacher Mike Welsh said improvements over the last three years have been challenged by a tougher inspection regime.

“This is a better result than the outstanding report,” he said.

“We were delighted last time but they have changed the bar completely so it is very difficult to compare. They have recognised outstanding teaching and outstanding practice.

“It is quite clear it is much harder now when you see so many schools going into the inadequate category.

“They have raised the standards of what is expected nationally from every school, whereas before people might have been satisfactory they now require improvement. To be an outstanding school under the latest Ofsted framework is very tough.”

Mike added challenges from Ofsted would benefit the school system but only if it remains fair across the board.

“We had a fair inspection, and it is a very tough regime now,” he said. “What we want in the country is for all schools to be good and as long as inspections are fair and consistent that is what we expect.

“Children here are achieving well. When they start school they are well below the national average but they leave at well above the average, which is great news.

“We are serving a community under economic and social pressure but we are pleased with the progress here.

“Pupils are fitted well for their secondary career and go on to do very well.”

The Ofsted report, in which the school scored 2s across in all four categories, said: “Pupils make better progress than typically expected.

“Strong provision and good teaching ensure they make good progress and leave with levels that often exceed expected development.”

Only a few areas required improvement including the school’s need to ensure pupils have more chances to work independently.

“We do not need to go very far,” said Mike. “Even now we are on the cusp of being outstanding, and now we have a firm understanding we know how to proceed.

“When we became an academy the whole landscape changed, and over the last three years the Ofsted inspection system has changed three times.

“In that period all schools have found it far more demanding.

“We do not want any further changes. We have got to ask them for time now where schools can get on with their work. We want stability in the system.

“We are not going to rest on our laurels. We are going to continue to be a school which improves and seeks to be the best.”


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