Tower Hill no longer among country’s worst primary schools

Oxford Mail: Tower Hill Primary School headteacher Tracey Smith with youngster Kymberly Bowles Tower Hill Primary School headteacher Tracey Smith with youngster Kymberly Bowles

A PRIMARY school that was once dubbed the fourth worst in the country is on its way to turning things around.

Tower Hill Primary School was rated good by Ofsted inspectors in a new report, after being told it required improvement in 2012.

Inspectors visited the Witney school last month and have now confirmed the school has improved considerably.

Their success has won praise from Witney MP and Prime Minister David Cameron, who has written to the school to congratulate them on the achievement.

Mr Cameron said in his letter: “This really is a fantastic achievement and well deserved by you and your staff.

“I know how pleased you all must be and I am sure that your pupils and their parents are very grateful for your hard work and dedication.”

The school was the fourth worst-performing school in the country in 2010 after Key Stage 2 results were released for the national tests in reading, writing and maths. The results – where pupils are expected to reach level 4 – were just 22 per cent in 2010.

In 2012 the school was told it required improvement. Inspectors critised how children were deemed not to have the reading skills expected of them.

But now it has more than quadrupled its figures to exceed Oxfordshire’s 78 per cent average.

Now 94 per cent of Year 6 pupils at Witney’s Tower Hill Primary School have reached the expected level in reading, writing and maths.

Headteacher Tracey Smith said: “We are delighted that all our hard work has been recognised. This is testament to the input of the whole community: children, families, teaching staff and governors.

“It is a fantastic achievement, but the work does not stop here as we are determined to become an outstanding school as soon as possible.”

In the latest report, Ofsted said: “Determined and focused leadership by the headteacher, governors and staff has resulted in a strong improvement since the previous inspection.”

Chairman of governors Liam Walsh said: “Being true to our core values has helped us enormously. We have been resilient, we have been positive, and we have been aspirational.

“We know we’re on a journey towards being an outstanding school, and will embrace the challenge of proving that.”

In making the improvements, the school increased attendance to 96 per cent and has specialist teachers for reading and maths, as well as running intervention groups to boost attainment for children.

It also focuses on “closing the gap” between disadvantaged pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium and their classmates.

The school will be celebrating with a family picnic at 3.15pm on Friday, June 20, with a performance by singer/songwriter Nick Cope.

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