19 November 2013

Brighton & Hove primary school bucks national trend retaining ‘outstanding’ Ofsted title

Brighton & Hove primary school St Luke’s has bucked the national trend after inspectors ranked it ‘outstanding’ under schools regulator Ofsted’s tougher new regime.

The inspectors said pupils’ standards in reading, writing and maths are ‘very high’ across the school while teaching is of ‘consistently outstanding quality which enables pupils to achieve excellent results’.

St Luke’s pupils demonstrate a ‘substantial love of learning, a keen curiosity about the world and they enjoy challenging themselves’, they said.  “Their behaviour and attitudes to learning are exemplary, and they feel safe and happy in school.”

Inspectors said: “The headteacher, other leaders and governors show exceptionally strong leadership and have very high expectations of pupils and teachers. As a result, teaching and pupils’ achievements are outstanding.”

As part of the visit, inspectors observed teaching in every class, one assembly and pupils’ behaviour in the playground and at lunchtime. Other aspects of the school’s work evaluated included supervision and support for pupils who need extra help as well as pupils’ work in their exercise books, on classroom and corridor wall displays as well as hearing groups of pupils read.

St Luke’s, a much larger than the average-sized primary, has a range of pupils including more than the average with special educational needs as well as speech, language and communications needs. A small number have behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

Inspectors noted the high level of challenge in teaching pupils - for example mathematics where pupils themselves set increasingly hard addition problems which results in ‘very high quality learning and progress seen in the vast majority of lessons’.

Pupils are given many opportunities to communicate and explain their ideas and to work independently or co-operatively. Pupils are listened to very well and their ideas are responded to in a way that stimulates pupils to think more deeply. This results in secure and enjoyable learning, inspectors added.

St Luke’s Headteacher Jonathan Cooper said:

“We believe that St Luke’s is a marvellous place to begin your education and foster a real love of learning so it’s great to be judged as ‘outstanding’ again. All our excellent staff, from teaching assistants and teachers to school office workers are passionate about giving each and every child the best possible start in life. They are determined to ensure our children become really positive, caring and imaginative citizens of the future. This report and the comments made by the lead inspector serve as marvellous recognition of their hard work and achievements. The report is also a great celebration of our children and community and we are very proud of them.”

Cllr Sue Shanks, Chair of the Children & Young People Committee, said:

“Congratulations to everyone at St Luke’s Primary School who have demonstrated just how exciting and brilliant the first few precious years in school for our young children can be.

“St Luke’s was ranked ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted under the old regime but to retain the title under the far more rigorous and tougher new inspection is a rare achievement that bucks the national trend.

“The school’s headteacher is involved in a city-wide drive to improve schools and is also Chair of an outstanding partnership between local primary phase schools and the local secondary schools Dorothy Stringer and Varndean. This is just one element in our determined drive to offer the very best education for children across the city.”