Delight at Amble school rating

Pupils at Amble Links First School celebrate their Ofsted report.
Picture by Jane Coltman
Pupils at Amble Links First School celebrate their Ofsted report. Picture by Jane Coltman

The head of a north Northumberland first school has expressed his delight after a good rating in its latest Ofsted inspection.

Amble Links First School was inspected last month for the first time since it was previously rated good in January 2011, but in the interim, the Ofsted inspection regime has become tougher.

Pupils at Amble Links First School celebrate their Ofsted report.
Picture by Jane Coltman

Pupils at Amble Links First School celebrate their Ofsted report. Picture by Jane Coltman

Headteacher Paul Heeley said: “We are absolutely delighted with it because it’s under such a tough new framework.

“It’s a real testament to the hard work of the school staff which has helped us achieve that.

“It’s really reflected in what we see around the school and the children are a real credit; that’s often commented on when we are out on school visits.”

As of September last year, Ofsted inspects good providers once every three years under a new short inspection model, starting from a premise that the school is still good and focusing on ensuring that those standards are being maintained.

It was under this model that Amble Links had a one-day inspection in April.

In her letter reporting on the outcome, Her Majesty’s Inspector, Fiona Manuel, said: ‘Leaders and governors have tackled the areas identified for improvement at the previous inspection effectively. Positive outcomes for pupils are the result.

‘Wide availability and better use of up-to-date information and computer technology resources enhance teaching and learning opportunities across the school.’

Elsewhere, she adds: ‘Pupils say they enjoy coming to school and learning. They express pride in their own and others’ achievements, showing tolerant and empathetic attitudes. Behaviour in and around the school is good.

‘Pupils talk knowingly and with increasing confidence as they move through the school about the school’s ‘6 Rs’ approach.

‘Becoming resourceful, reasoning, responsible, 
reflective, resilient and respectful citizens is the aim.

‘Pupils show clear understanding of how these principles develop learning skills and foster positive relationships, preparing them well for later life’.

In terms of academic achievement, she writes: ‘Pupils make good progress. From below typical starting points in the early years, pupils reach expected standards in reading, writing and mathematics by the end of key Stage 1. This said, the proportion of pupils reaching the higher levels in reading at the end of Key Stage 1 was lower than figures seen nationally.

‘More recently, pupils are catching up rapidly, leaving Reception in line with others nationally’.

There is also praise for Mr Heeley, who has ‘successfully built on many of the school’s strengths since the previous inspection’ and is ‘extremely visible in and around the school community’.

The next steps for the leadership and governors at Amble Links are to further support recently-established leaders, ensure that staff use the assessment system ‘with consistency and rigour’ and ensure that the teaching of reading improves.