INCREASING demands on staff and a harder line by Ofsted did little to topple Eldene Primary from its pedestal as the school maintained its ranking following a recent inspection.
For the fourth time since the infant and junior schools merged to become a single primary school in 2000, Eldene was deemed good in a glowing report following the inspection on December 5 and 6.
Inspectors commended staff for continuously looking for new ways to improve standards since their last visit in 2011.
They were also deeply impressed by teachers’ ability to engage with pupils of all abilities, including many with severe learning difficulties, and cater to each child’s complex needs.
“Pupils in special resource provision and pupils with special educational needs in mainstream classes make good progress because they are very well supported both by teachers and highly skilled teaching assistants, who adopt a purposeful and positive approach to learning,” lead inspector Anna Sketchley wrote.
Joint head teachers Heather Kellett and Susan Joslin’s dedication and unfailing commitment were highly praised in the document as the driving force behind the success of the school.
“The two full-time head teachers form a very strong partnership,” the report went on. “Their teaching commitment and responsibility for different age groups in the school enable them to monitor its work closely and regularly.”
The findings were warmly welcomed by both joint head teachers, who took the helm together at the primary school more than six years ago.
Mrs Joslin said: “We are delighted that they recognised that children of all abilities do very well with us; from those with very special needs in our SPR – a special resource provision for children with complex learning difficulties – to some of the most able children, who chose to learn Latin and are really enjoying it.”
Mrs Kellett added that the outcome was even greater praise as Ofsted inspections proved more challenging each time.
“The inspection regime has got tougher and tougher,” she said. “So to keep receiving a judgement of Good means that the school has got better and better.”
Yet inspectors felt children’s writing lagged behind their reading and math skills and that pupils did not have enough opportunities to practice the construction of sentences.
These shortcomings had already been identified by teachers and teaching assistants, according to Mrs Kellett.
“The Ofsted inspectors agreed with the areas we had already identified as needing improvement,” she added.