Shared pride and inspiring learning proved to be the defining qualities of a Nelson primary school delighted by its first ever OFSTED inspection.
Pendle Primary Academy, which is also celebrating its second anniversary following its opening in March 2013, was graded good with outstanding elements, and its pupils and teachers couldn’t be happier.
The result marks a complete turnaround for the former Walter Street School, which was placed into special measures in October 2012.
The school now falls within the Pendle Education Trust, an organisation set up in order to create a partnership of schools in East Lancashire, which was set up in 2012 in consultation with the Department for Education and sponsored by the ‘Outstanding’ Nelson and Colne College.
Mrs Julie Burnside, who was appointed as Principal of the school in June 2013, has proved to be a truly inspirational leader and she, in turn, has been inspired by the children in her care.
She said: “We couldn’t be prouder of the children, whose behaviour was deemed ‘outstanding’ and their pride in the school obvious in the report.”
She also commented, “I’m absolutely delighted for the whole school, the staff, the parents, children and governors, and of course Pendle Education Trust who sponsor the school. The report reflects the hard work and dedication of everybody here to make this school the very best that it can be.”
The school works towards an inclusive ‘SHINE’ charter; Safe, Here, Inspired, Neighbourly and Excellent, and the report findings show that these principles have been accepted by children in every class.
Inspectors praised the school for providing challenging work, exciting and inspiring school visits within a caring, safe environment.
Teaching across the board was deemed ‘constantly good’ with young children discovering a love for learning, and older pupils equipped with the skills required for secondary school.
The OFSTED report states: “They enjoy school and work hard because the school has helped them believe that they can achieve.”
The school, which is predominantly made up of pupils from Asian heritage (98%), 70% of whom are non-English speaking at home, was also commended for the rapid progress towards developing the children’s English reading and writing skills.
Mrs Burnside too was highlighted in the report for her inspirational leadership:
“The school’s principal is an inspirational leader. Her resolute and unwavering focus on ensuring that all pupils reach their potential, have high aspirations of what they can achieve in their lives and of what they can contribute to society has brought about a ‘sea change’ in this school.
“Pupils, parents and key figures and groups in the community all agree that the transformation in this school has been remarkable.”
One pupil said she wanted to ‘salute’ the person who made it an academy, as it was so much better than before.
Other senior leaders too were praised for supporting the principal well, and providing strong and effective leadership.
Anita Ghidotti, Chief Executive of the Pendle Education Trust, said: “This is a fantastic OFSTED result which demonstrates how children can thrive in a safe, nurturing learning environment. Pupils and staff alike should be very proud of what they have achieved in less than two years.”
Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle added: “The school has hugely improved in the last two years and I am delighted to join them to celebrate what they have achieved since becoming an academy.”
In celebration of the report and the school’s second birthday, the pupils were treated to a showcase of entertainment, music and dance, from Bollywood dancers to ice cream and samosas –a real celebration of the school community and British values.