The Croft Primary School in Hesketh Crescent, Old Town Swindon has recently been inspected by Ofsted and given its highest accolade by being awarded the most prestigious possible rating available “Outstanding” in every aspect of its life.
The opening line of the report says it all:
“… Through highly effective leadership and planning, this new school has got off to an exceptional start…”
The school, set in Hesketh Crescent, Old Town Swindon has only been open since September 2012 and this makes the grading even more remarkable and close to being unique because in a very short space of time it has managed to establish outstanding learning outcomes for its children from a standing start.
Ofsted scores a school on four areas of its offer to children and then combines these scores to give an overall effectiveness score, in this case “Outstanding”. The four areas inspected by Ofsted are
1. Achievement of pupils Grade 1 – “Outstanding”
“…Pupils write very good quality extended pieces. Their handwriting is very well established….”
“…In mathematics, pupils achieve exceptionally well…”
“…Pupils enjoy reading and make exceptional progress. …”
2. Quality of Teaching Grade 1 – “Outstanding”
“…The high quality teaching contributes significantly to pupils’ outstanding learning and achievement….”
3. Behaviour and safety of pupils Grade 1 – “Outstanding”
“…The behaviour of pupils is outstanding…”
4. Leadership and management Grade 1 – “Outstanding”
“…The executive headteachers and the Principal successfully convey ambition, determination and vision in developing the new school…”
5. Overall Effectiveness Grade 1 – “Outstanding”
Praise was also heaped on the school from parents during the inspection and typical comments included: ‘Very happy with the school’, ‘Wonderful school’, ‘My child loves it here’ and ‘Staff are brilliant’.
Speaking after the report was published, Principal Candida Hutchinson said: "I am proud to be part of a thorough and robust experience. The report recognises the determination and drive of our staff to enable all children to achieve success. It highlights how tremendously supportive our families are. It celebrates how we work well together within the wider team of the WHF and governance. Most importantly, it clearly states how engaged and enthused our children are in their learning; blazing a trail and reaching for the stars represented in our logo…”
The White Horse Federation, a multi-academy trust based in Swindon, was also highly celebrated within the report with inspectors focusing on the support and leadership given to schools by saying
"There is a highly effective partnership between the schools within the White Horse Federation. All schools benefit from the partnership in raising pupils’ achievement and in developing teaching. There is a shared vision for the schools and effective policies and procedures are adopted. Leadership experience and expertise can be deployed where needed. Teachers share successful practice and ideas. Staff from different schools check the accuracy of pupils’ attainment levels. Teachers have opportunities to work in other schools in the federation to broaden their experience….”
"Some subject leaders are new to their post but they are developing well. These leaders receive outstanding support from senior staff and other colleagues from within the White Horse Federation…”
“The White Horse Federation of schools work extremely well together and the sharing of expertise benefits pupil achievement and staff development in all the schools…”
Executive Managing Director of the White Horse Federation, Lauren Connor was also delighted when asked to comment on this truly outstanding achievement saying;
“To achieve Grade 1 scores across every element of a schools performance is difficult even for established schools who have a track record and legacy of success on which to build. To achieve this after just 19 months makes the outcome even more remarkable. It reflects the hard work of the staff at the school but also the support mechanisms they can call upon from the wider federation. I am especially proud of Candida Hutchinson, a teacher who is new to Headship but clearly one born to lead…”
Commenting on the highly successful report, Dr Nicholas Capstick, CEO of the White Horse Federation said,
“I couldn’t be happier for the school, the staff or the local community but I am especially proud for the parents who send their children to us as an act of trust very day and I think this shows what the best staff, leadership and a support network from the wider federation can do in creating an excellent education for the children of Old Town. I am especially pleased with how the report captures not just the academic successes but also the wider aspects of school life which make going to school a delight and pleasure for our children
"This was Swindon’s first sponsored academy and I would like to thank the council and elected members who gave us the opportunity to take on this new venture and I’m hoping they now see the enormous reward for their trust …”
This is the second time within three months that a setting within the WHF has achieved an overall grading of “Outstanding” in every category as the Drove Early Years/2 year old child care was inspected in April and again was awarded Grade 1 in every category.