PUPILS, staff and parents at an Oxfordshire primary school finished for the summer holidays on a high after it came out of special measures.
And instead of just moving up into the next Ofsted category – satisfactory – Chalgrove Primary School was rated ‘good’ in every area.
Julie Quarrell was brought in as an acting headteacher in March 2011, a month after the school first went into special measures, and was given the post permanently in February this year.
She said: “We are proud of what we have achieved here.
“We had already done some self-evaluation and a lot of monitoring through the year so we knew teaching was good, and we knew the children had made good progress.
“So, although it is fantastic and we were absolutely thrilled, we were quietly confident that we had evidence to show what we had now was a good school.”
In his report, inspector Peter Limm said the school had improved significantly since the last inspection – and only just fell short of being outstanding.
He described the curriculum as challenging and pointed to sustained improvements in pupils’ progress and the quality of teaching.
He was also full of praise for Miss Quarrell, who was previously headteacher at Stanton Harcourt Primary School.
Mr Limm said: “The ambition and drive of the headteacher is outstanding as she pursues excellence for the school.
“This is clearly seen in the rapid improvements in the quality of teaching.”
Miss Quarrell said she believed her permanent appointment had provided stability to the school and reassurance that the changes implemented would be sustained.
But she insisted turning the school around had been a joint effort.
She said: “There were many good things about the school when I first arrived.
“Behaviour is exceptional, and there is good support from the community.
“All I have done is built people’s confidence. Staff were already a dedicated and skilled team.”
Dave Crosthwaite, whose daughter, Holly, nine, attends the school, said he believed going into special measures was the best thing for the school.
He said: “It really gave it a chance to sort out some of the problems that had been festering in the background.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But at the time maybe you think everything is probably okay, then you think maybe okay isn’t good enough.”
He said parents were now kept much more involved, and teachers seemed to have clearer guidance about what they should be doing.
Mr Crosthwaite added: “They are clearly working more effectively now.”