School in Ford must improve, says Ofsted

The reception class at Hugh Joicey CofE First School in Ford.
Picture by Jane Coltman
The reception class at Hugh Joicey CofE First School in Ford. Picture by Jane Coltman

A north Northumberland school rocked by the death of its much-loved headteacher last summer has been told it requires improvement.

However, Ofsted inspector Belita Scott acknowledged it had been a difficult year for Hugh Joicey CofE First School, in Ford, with Sally Wood’s untimely death from cancer.

With support from staff, parents and other adults, Ms Scott said the children had ‘responded maturely and with great sensitivity’ to Mrs Wood’s illness.

She noted how much good work was being done and that steps were already being taken by new headteacher Jacqueline Dalrymple to make the necessary improvements.

She said pupils felt safe in school, were ready to learn on entry to reception because of a seamless transition from the on-site pre-school and they made rapid and sustained progress in Years 3 and 4.

But Ms Scott said the quality of teaching and learning needed to improve by increasing the expectations of the most able pupils and providing challenging work for them, particularly for boys.

The 60-pupil school has been graded good in a separate review by an inspector from the Newcastle Diocese, who added: “The new headteacher is driving the school forward to secure high-quality education and in strengthening the distinctly Christian ethos. She is an excellent role model and ensures the school ethos to provide happy, healthy, aspirational learners in a Christian community becomes a reality.”

In a letter to parents, Mrs Dalrymple thanked the school team, governors and parents for their hard work and commitment and the ‘exemplary’ children.

“I feel very proud to be the headteacher of Hugh Joicey CofE First School and I look forward to building upon our strengths into the future,” she said.