A LIVELY village school that inspires a 'buzz' for learning has upheld the highest Ofsted rating.

Appleton CE Primary School near Cumnor has maintained its 'outstanding' standards in a new report, which describes how pupils 'delight' in their work.

The report states: "There is a tangible buzz to learning activities as pupils thrive on high levels of challenge. They enjoy reasoning and take delight in solving tricky problems.

"Pupils say this is a very friendly and harmonious school."

The letter was published on Ofsted's website last week following a short check-up assessment in February - the regulator's first visit since 2011, when it was also rated 'outstanding.'

In the eight years between inspections, the 190-pupil school in Appleton has welcomed new staff members including headteacher Amy Carnell.

Ofsted's latest report, addressed to the headteacher, noted how the school's three core values of respect, kindness and responsibility 'flow seamlessly throughout each day.'

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Inspectors praised Mrs Carnell for her 'forward-thinking leadership,' which had ensured pupils achieve 'extremely well.'

The report added: "Since taking up post as headteacher [in September 2016], you have led with purposeful intent to ensure high standards are maintained.

"You are determined to see every pupil succeed and make the best possible progress during their time at Appleton.

"You are unyielding in following up any blips in the school’s performance, instigating thoughtful and detailed actions."

The inspector was particularly impressed by the school's determination for the curriculum to 'hold real-life value' for pupils outside of the classroom.

She wrote in the report: "The curriculum is exceptionally well planned and enables pupils to flourish in many different aspects of learning.

"Pupils can articulate how the curriculum contributes positively towards their futures."

Ofsted said children are 'superbly prepared' for the next steps in their education, and one of them proudly told the inspector: "We love learning new things."

The regulator said pupils at Appleton make 'rapid and sustained progress' and 'relish opportunities to solve tricky problems' during maths class.

The school has grown in recent years, expanding its annual admission number from 22 to 28, and increasing classroom space to accommodate more pupils.

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There are almost 300 mainstream primary schools in Oxfordshire but, according to the Government's school comparison website, Appleton is one of just 25 to boast the top rating.

'Outstanding' is the best of four standards assessed by the watchdog, above good, requires improvement and inadequate.

Most schools are subject to Ofsted inspection every four years, or more frequently if they were judged to need improvement, but schools rated 'outstanding' are exempt from this rule.

They are usually only given 'monitoring' inspections,' which are shorter check-ups, and some in Oxfordshire have not been inspected for more than a decade.