School notches up a hat-trick

Children at Ellingham sporting their new PE kit, partly paid for by the school PTA.
Children at Ellingham sporting their new PE kit, partly paid for by the school PTA.

A NORTH Northumberland school is celebrating a hat-trick of official endorsements from inspectors – described variously as good, outstanding and a joy.

Ellingham C of E First School has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for its ‘enthusiastic teachers who make learning fun’ in a report which rated the school overall as good.

“It is held in very high esteem by pupils, staff, governors and parents and carers alike,” the report said and added: “There have been many improvements since the previous inspection. These have resulted in some significant gains in pupils’ achievement and in many areas of personal development.”

Ofsted gave its highest award of outstanding for the way the school engaged with parents and involved them in the education of their children.

The report said: “Pupils behave well and they thoroughly enjoy their education. This was apparent throughout the inspection – in assemblies, at break times and in lessons. Pupils’ achievement is good. Throughout the school, pupils of all abilities make good progress.”

The school’s early years’ unit, which operates each morning, was also singled out for praise with inspectors commenting on the excellent induction procedures which helped new children settle quickly.

“The environment is very bright and stimulating and ensures that children have a variety of engaging and creative activities which sustain their interest.”

Inspectors also picked out the children’s ‘strong spiritual development’ at the Church of England-Aided school, a point reinforced a few weeks after the visit of Ofsted inspectors when Ellingham received its three-yearly visit from inspectors from Church House, in Newcastle.

The SIAS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools) report described Ellingham as outstanding, and as ‘a lively and happy learning community where children make excellent progress.

‘Care, kindness and moral values are engendered in an atmosphere of fun and enthusiasm.

‘All staff have high expectations and are effective role models. Pupils are proud to be members of the school and are confident that their opinions are listened to.”

The third assessment of the school saw it retain its Eco-Schools status as a green flag school. This was first awarded to Ellingham in 2008 for the breadth and quality of initiatives in the school to get the children to engage with and acknowledge environmental issues, both in the school and in the surrounding area.

“Whole school involvement within the sustainability agenda is very strong and a joy to witness,” Karyn Fullerton, of Eco-Schools, said in her commendation.

Speaking after the wave of successful inspections, Ellingham headteacher, Diane Lakey, said: “It is always rewarding when outside bodies recognise the value of what we do.

“Three inspections inside two months kept all the adults in school on their toes, but the children just took it all in their stride.

“They are the lifeblood of the school and their qualities shone through every time.

“They are a huge credit to their parents, themselves and the school. We are very proud of them.”