School back from the brink and rated good

Celebrating their Ofsted report are Branton school pupils and staff Rachael Plunkett and Alison Lloyd-Harris.
Celebrating their Ofsted report are Branton school pupils and staff Rachael Plunkett and Alison Lloyd-Harris.
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A north Northumberland first school that almost folded last year has received a timely boost with a good Ofsted rating in its latest inspection.

At the end of the last academic year, Branton Community First School received the official nod for its community powers nursery, which opened in September, ensuring that it stayed open.

Now, the Governing Body is delighted to be able to announce that the school, incorporating Breamish Valley Community Nursery, was rated by Ofsted as being a good school with outstanding aspects in its most recent inspection carried out in March.

The report states: “The headteacher’s energy and passion have enabled the school to improve a great deal since the last inspection and the senior leaders and governing body have a crystal-clear vision for the future of the school as a valued rural community resource.”

‘Well-managed teaching is good and some imaginative elements were observed’ during the inspection.

Chairman of governors Laura Capper said: “This has been a really challenging year for the school and this inspection result is testimony to the enormous amount of effort put in by the headteacher and her staff, who were completely supported by the parents and by the local community to not only save this vital resource, but to expand it and to continue to push the standards up so that all the children are safe, happy and achieving well.

“A great deal of credit must also go to the pupils who felt confident enough to speak up during the consultation process last year and make it clear they did not want their school to close.

“They demonstrated to the inspector how well they care for and about each other and how they especially look out for the nursery pupils, ensuring they too are happy and feel safe at Branton.

“The pupil numbers are considerably improved from this time last year and the mother and toddlers group which runs every Thursday morning, while the nursery and main school pupils go swimming in Alnwick, is getting bigger every week.

“The parents and friends association of the school is holding a coffee morning in celebration of this great result on Saturday, May 18, at 10am, at the school. Everyone is welcome to come along and join the celebration and this would be a good opportunity for anyone wishing to see round the school and the new nursery.”