Fland-tastic turnaround for school once ranked among the worst

By Michael Upton | 23/02/2018

Fland-tastic turnaround for school once ranked among the worst

FLANDERWELL Primary School - once ranked among the country’s worst - has completed a dramatic transformation after being rated as “outstanding” across the board.

The school was one of Ofsted’s 500 worst-performing schools in 2013 but is now one of the top 500 following its successful link-up with nearby Wickersley St Alban’s Primary.

Visited by inspectors last month, the school has now been assessed as outstanding overall after scoring top marks in all five assessed categories.
Executive head teacher Alison Adair said: “We are absolutely thrilled to share the outcome of the inspection. 

“Congratulations go to the whole school community for this huge achievement: children, staff, governors, parents. 

“We were so touched by the positive comments made by our parents to the inspectors and immensely proud of our amazing pupils and dedicated staff.”

Ms Adair added: “Staff, the trust, governors and parents are thrilled that inspectors have agreed with the school’s judgement that it is outstanding in all areas.

“The report confirms that Flanderwell pupils are getting the very best education, which we know they all deserve.

“Inspectors have captured the school very well.”

In May 2013, Flanderwell was rated as “requiring improvement” in all areas, with criticism of learning standards varying from class to class, low attendance and the absence of leadership figures in key positions.

In the wake of the inspection, the school teamed up with St Alban’s in September 2013.

The schools both have Ms Adair as executive head teacher, with Julie Armitage as head of school at Flanderwell. 

Both converted to academy status in 2015 in the Diocese of Sheffield Academies Trust, share the same curriculum, while staff from each school work together.

Flanderwell received a congratulatory letter from Nick Gibb, school standards minister, in 2017 and again earlier this year, recognising staff’s “hard work and professionalism in producing such high standards”.

And the icing on the cake was the verdict of inspectors who spent two days at the school last month, scoring Flanderwell as outstanding for leadership and management; teaching and learning; personal development, behaviour and welfare; outcomes for pupils and early years provision.

Inspectors said there was now a culture of very high expectations across the school and “unwavering commitment” to improvement.

There was also praise for the “highly ambitious” governors, “excellent” teaching assistants and “skilful” teachers and the inspectors noted how well funding for children with learning disabilities and special needs was used.

“Leaders have ensured that the curriculum offers exciting opportunities across many subjects,” the report added. “There are wide-ranging extra activities. 

“The curriculum makes an excellent contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

“Pupils say they are safe and enjoy school. They make a significant contribution to their own outstanding progress. 

“They are keen to learn and their behaviour is exemplary.”

Ms Adair, who has also overseen standards rising at St Michael’s School in Rossington, Doncaster, shrugged off suggestions she deserved personal praise for Flanderwell’s turnaround, saying: “I just enjoy school improvement and love what I do.”

Asked the secret of the school’s success, Ms Adair said: “We are just completely relentless about wanting to improve the school.

“We will not be resting on our laurels with this outstanding rating. We will aim to continue our progress at Flanderwell and do the best for our children.”


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