A PRIMARY school which opened 18 months ago despite fierce opposition from local residents has been rated outstanding in its first Ofsted report.

The top grade is rarely awarded to new schools which do not have years of evidence to support their structures and policies.

But, following an inspection earlier this month, Croft Primary School’s inspectors praised the school across all four areas, the achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching, the behaviour and safety of pupils and the leadership and management of the school.

Inspectors said: “Through highly effective leadership and planning, this new school has got off to an exceptional start.

“The children in Reception make rapid gains in the areas of learning because of high quality teaching and support.

“Children at an early stage of learning English make exceptional progress in acquiring and using English.

“Pupils make outstanding progress in Year 1 and by the end of the year, attainment is high in reading, writing and mathematics.”

The report also said that attendance levels were higher than average, that children were extremely well behaved and that parents were very supportive of the school.

The report said: “Teachers establish very positive relationships with their pupils and expect them to do their best.

“The pupils respond very well to these high expectations and learn exceptionally well.

“Teachers and teaching assistants give good quality feedback to pupils so they know how well they are doing and what they need to do to improve.

“The marking of pupils’ work is detailed and helpful.”

The report offered only one improvement to the school which was to strengthen the role of new subject leaders so they are fully involved in observing learning and planning for future teaching developments.”

Nick Capstick, the executive headteacher at Croft and the CEO of the White Horse Federation, of which Croft Primary is a part, said it was an ideal Ofsted report.

He said: “I think there are three main reasons why The Croft had achieved this grading, which is almost unheard of for such a young school.

“The most important is the work of the fantastic team we have who work extremely hard.

“Secondly it is down to the White Horse Federation who has two schools with teaching school status, and The Croft were able to benefit from their support.

“Thirdly it is down to the White Horse Federation who wants to see The Croft do well, and offers support.

“Likewise Croft want to see other schools in the federation do well as well so it’s a great forum to feed back and develop.”

Croft headteacher Candida Hutchinson was also delighted.

She said: “The report recognises the determination and drive of our staff to enable all children to achieve success.

“It highlights how supportive our families are. It celebrates how we work well together within the White Horse Federation and governance.

“Most importantly, it clearly states how engaged our children are in their learning.”

The report will be available to the public from Friday at www.ofsted.gov.uk