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Primary school gains praise for big improvement
AN OXFORD primary school that was told it must become an academy to drive up standards is on the right track.
That is the verdict of Ofsted, which has rated Windale Primary School in Blackbird Leys as “good” in its most recent inspection.
The school, which has 335 students, was rated “satisfactory” in 2010 and inspectors said the school has made great improvements in the past two years.
In their report, released this week, they said: “It has improved strongly since the previous inspection, the result of strong leadership by senior staff and the governing body.
“The headteacher has been effective in motivating staff, who demonstrate a determination to raise standards and further improve provision.”
Inspectors particularly praised pupil achievement in English and the safe environment the school offered.
Twenty-five per cent of students at Windale are diagnosed with special educational needs – higher than the national average – and an above average number of students speak English as an additional language.
Last year, the Department for Education announced Windale was one of a number of schools nationwide that would be turned into an academy after failing to reach the target of 60 per cent of students achieving the government benchmark of Level Four in both English and maths for four years.
Inspectors said: “Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs achieve well because of skilled support that is well targeted.
“A good balance of one-to-one and small group sessions, setting, and weekend activities enable pupils whose circumstances might make them vulnerable to catch up and achieve well.”
Ofsted said the school needed to focus on pupil progress in maths and ensure lessons were “fine tuned” to the levels pupils were at.
The report also reveals the likely date for the school to become an academy is April 2013.
The Oxford Mail was yesterday unable to contact headteacher Maureen Thompson.
Oxfordshire County Council education cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said the improvements were a “remarkable” achievement.
She said: “I am so pleased.
“Maureen, the headteacher, has done a really good job.
“It is a school that has lots of challenges but she has turned it round and she is setting an example to all the other schools, and I have told her so personally.”