Pride as school overcomes troubles

March 29 2018

A KINGSWOOD primary school where every teacher quit has maintained its good Ofsted rating and is now described as "thriving".

Our Lady of Lourdes, in Hanham Road, saw a 100 per cent turnover of teachers following mass resignations.

A new teaching team led by executive head Louisa Wilson is  in place and the school has been visited by Ofsted for the first time since the upheaval.

Inspector Tracy Hannon, acknowledged the school has gone through some tough times.

Her report said: "For a short while, the school experienced some turbulent times. All senior leaders and teachers left the school within just over a year. Governors have been persistent in their pursuit of improvement. They have not shied away from difficult decisions."

The inspector said Ms Wilson has led the Catholic school with a "relentless ambition for high standards" and established a culture of high aspirations. 

"All staff report that they are proud to work in the school. The majority of pupils are diligent and display exemplary attitudes to learning. Parents and carers report their growing confidence in the school."

The new headteacher, Nick Bracey, who joined the school in January, is described as having "an acute understanding of the strengths of the school and the areas that require further work". According to the report, parents speak highly of the headteacher’s work and welcome his appointment.

In 2016, the number of pupils reaching the expected standards by the end of Key Stage 2 in reading, writing and mathematics dropped to 24 per cent, well below the national average. In the national assessments in 2017, pupils’ achievement increased and was above the national average.

Also praised was a strong culture of safeguarding, the increasingly effective teaching of phonics, the highly effective teaching of English and additional support for disadvantaged pupils.

Longwell Green councillor Toby Savage, cabinet member responsible for schools, said: "I’m delighted for everyone at Our Lady of Lourdes for having achieved this latest judgement from Ofsted. The school has experienced a lot of change over the past year and I am pleased to see that thanks to a lot of hard work and commitment, staff feel proud of their school and the pupils are thriving as a result. 

"The council worked closely with the governors and the diocese to help appoint Louisa as the national leader of education to drive up standards. Combined with Nick Bracey’s appointment as the new headteacher, it’s no surprise that inspectors have picked up on the fact that children are enjoying school."

After Easter, Ms Wilson will return to St Stephen's Juniors, which is rated outstanding.