A Whitehawk primary school has been rated ‘good’ by education inspectors, with an ‘outstanding’ early years provision.
City Academy Whitehawk, which is in one of the more deprived areas of Brighton and Hove, maintained the ‘good’ Ofsted rating after reaching this standard in 2015.
But inspectors said the school had shown improvements under new academy trust Aurora, which took the school on in September 2017.
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Tim McCarthy, CEO of Aurora Academies Trust, said: “This is a very well deserved inspection report and the judgement corroborates what we already know about the school.
“City Academy Whitehawk provides a fantastic education for its young people, it is very well led and its pupils, staff and parents work closely together in partnership, which helps children learn faster.
“Aurora is very proud of the whole Whitehawk community which deserves to have such a good school in its midst.”
Inspectors visited the school on November 14 and 15, and said ‘standards have continued to rise’ under the trust. They added that leaders have a ‘very strong understanding of the school and the community’.
The report said two-thirds of the students at the school are ‘disadvantaged’ and the proportion of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is approximately double the national average.
Mark Church, head of school, said: “I have seen first-hand the journey that this school has been on and its transformation to become a school that is changing pupils’ lives for the better.
“This great inspection report reflects the dedication and commitment of the senior team and all of my staff, ranging from the teachers and other adults who ensure high quality learning in classrooms, to all our other colleagues who provide unstinting support for pupils in so many different ways before, during and after school”.
Paul Reilly, Aurora’s director of education and executive headteacher at the school, said: “I am immensely proud of the leadership team that we have assembled at City Academy Whitehawk. It simply goes from strength to strength.”
The Ofsted report said teaching had improved and that ‘it continues to do so because of effective coaching and mentoring by leaders’.
It added that progress made by pupils, particularly in Early Years and by the time pupils leave the school in Year 6, is better than the national average.
Pupils were said to ‘behave well, especially in lessons’, and ‘pupils’ welfare is given the highest priority at the school’.
Early years provision was judged as ‘outstanding’ – the highest Ofsted rating possible.
The inspectors said although ‘over two thirds of the children who join have knowledge and skills below those found typically’ that by the end of Reception Year ‘nearly two thirds of children achieve a good level of development’.
Early years leader Carly Church said: “I am incredibly humbled to have our early years provision rated so highly.
“We have worked hard to develop the learning environment and I am pleased that Ofsted recognise that our ‘highly skilled staff help children to develop positive attitudes to learning, behave well, and get to grips with school life quickly’.”
To reach the ‘outstanding’ rating in all areas, the inspectors said the school could develop the role of subject leaders to help improve the quality of teaching further, adapt tasks where necessary to meet the different needs of pupils, and to ‘continue the very effective work with parents to improve attendance’.
Mr McCarthy said: “This is a very special school which understands and serves its community well.
“We are thrilled with the ‘good’ rating as it really acknowledges the commitment given by every member of staff to providing pupils with an ‘outstanding’ start to their education that leads to a brilliant platform for their future life.
“However, it doesn’t stop here … the mission will be to continue to focus on becoming ‘outstanding’ in all aspects.
“For everyone at City Academy Whitehawk it is onwards and upwards!”