Published: December 2, 2019 1:26 pm

Orchard Head Junior, Infant and Nursery School has reason to celebrate after being rated as ‘Good’ in its latest Ofsted inspection.

The result has been even more pleasing for the school, which has 355 pupils on roll, due to it being one of a handful of schools in the district to be inspected using the new Ofsted inspection framework.

Ofsted inspectors carried out the two-day inspection of the school on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th November and graded it as ‘Good’ across every aspect of the framework.

Inspectors said in their report that they found pupils to be “well behaved and engaged in lessons” and that “staff have high expectations for pupils”. The report also said “Family and community are at the heart of this school”.

Ian Clennan, the Lead Inspector, identified that the school had improved since the last inspection with the Head of School leading the school very well. The school, part of Pontefract Academies Trust, was identified as a “happy place to be”. It was found that Pontefract Academies Trust had “transformed governance” and “governors hold school leaders to account”, whilst the Trust “worked with teachers to map out what pupils should learn”.

Joe Mitchell, Head of School, said “All our staff work incredibly hard to meet the needs of our children, so I am delighted that Ofsted recognises the improvement across the school and they saw that reading is at the heart of our curriculum”.

During the inspection, there was specific focus on the quality of teaching of reading, maths and PE, the school said. Reference was also made to how pupils learnt and remembered mathematical knowledge and skills well. Additionally, leaders were praised for “helping pupils in their love of reading, with teachers choosing from a wide variety of books for pupils to read” and that “teachers read with enthusiasm to pupils”.  The inspection team also found that “younger children get off to a great start in the early years”.

Mr Mitchell added “At Orchard Head we want all our pupils to achieve well and in every subject. We are delighted that Ofsted recognised this and that the inspectors commented that pupil welfare has the highest priority.” The inspection report said that the school “make sure that pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities get all the support they need” and that “leaders work well with other professionals to get pupils extra help”.

Pontefract Academies Trust’s Executive Director of Primary Education, Tom Fay, was equally delighted with the inspection outcome. Mr Fay said “We are really pleased for Joe and his team, the pupils, staff and parents. The inspection comes on the back of some great SATs results in the summer at Orchard Head and big improvements in the Trust’s six primary schools. The performance across our primaries is now 12% above the national average. The year before it was 12% below – a 24% improvement in one year. We look forward to Joe leading his team to even more improvements moving forward”.

The full Ofsted Report can be found here.

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