Our staff, pupils, parents and governors are celebrating after we were judged by Ofsted to be ‘good’ overall with ‘outstanding’ early years provision, after previously being judged as inadequate in its last Ofsted inspection in 2015.

An Ofsted inspection team visited us for two days in March. The inspection report, published this week, commends our school in all areas, including for its outstanding early years provision, the quality of its teaching and the academic progress made by its pupils.

We started working with Star Academies in October 2017 and joined the Trust in April 2018.  During this time, the school has continued to improve rapidly, with results in phonics, reading and mathematics all significantly improving.

The Ofsted inspectors highlighted the positive behaviour and attitudes of our pupils, the progress they are making and the quality of relationships between staff and children. They said that children are taught well and keen to learn, and told inspectors they enjoy school.

The report also praises our school’s leadership, summarising that the “Principal is very effective. She leads the school with clear moral purpose. She has high expectations of herself, staff and pupils. Outcomes are improving rapidly.”

It goes on to highlight the quality of teaching at the school and the positive impact this has on pupils’ outcomes. Examples of the vast improvements to pupils’ outcomes cited in the report include:

  • “As a result of good and better teaching, over the last three years, the proportion of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading at the end of key stage 2 has improved by approximately 10 percentage points each year.”
  • “Similarly, in mathematics…there have been significant year-on-year increases.”
  • “Outcomes at the end of key stage 1 in 2018 show the proportion of pupils achieving at the expected standard in reading and mathematics is above national expectations.”
  • “The percentage of pupils meeting the required standard for the phonics screening check is improving year-on-year.”

Other key findings in Ofsted’s report include:

  • Teachers at the school are skilled and have high levels of subject knowledge.
  • Pupils’ progress is good because good teaching is having a positive effect on current pupils’ outcomes. Reading is a strength and phonics is well taught.
  • Early years provision is outstanding. Children do very well. This is because the school is very well led, and staff have high expectations.
  • Disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive effective additional support. Pupils with SEND make good progress because of the staff’s detailed knowledge of their needs, as do those who are disadvantaged. They achieve well from their different starting points.
  • The school’s work to develop pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness is strong. Staff provide pupils with many opportunities to explore and develop their skills as leaders.
  • The school’s curriculum is carefully thought out and focused on giving every pupil the knowledge and skills they need.
  • Governors, supported by the trust, challenge leaders effectively. They know the strengths and what needs to be done to improve the school further.

We run a 30-place nursery for children aged two and above and Ofsted judged our school’s nursery and reception – its early years provision – to be ‘outstanding’, meaning that children have the best possible start to their education. Inspectors said that ‘as a result of the outstanding work of the provision, children who have attended the school’s nursery enter the school’s Reception class well placed to make strong progress.’

Principal Helen Ray said:

“I am delighted that our school has been recognised as ‘good’ overall with an ‘outstanding’ early years provision. I was especially pleased to read how impressed the inspectors were with the quality of teaching and the significant impact this has had on the development of our children. It is wonderful that all members of the school community have been praised so highly, from how our pupils demonstrate our Star values in action and our highly skilled staff, to the high standard of support we receive from our governors and Star Academies. I am extremely proud that the vision for the school is being realised, which is ultimately changing the lives of our pupils. This positive report is testament to all the hard work that has been applied over the last few years, but we won’t stop here. We want our school to be outstanding in all areas so we will continue to make further improvements to help our pupils achieve even more.”

Mufti Hamid Patel CBE, Chief Executive of Star Academies, commented:

“It is incredibly pleasing that the hard work and dedication of staff, governors, pupils and parents in transforming the school from an inadequate to a good rating has been recognised by Ofsted. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making High Crags Primary Leadership Academy a fantastic learning establishment that is achieving what Star set out to achieve – to nurture today’s young people and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.”

Read our full Ofsted report.