East Hunsbury Primary School, part of Northampton Primary Academy Trust, continues to be a Good school – that is the verdict of Ofsted following a visit by their inspector in April, and publication of their report on the school last month.

The 429-pupil school, which includes a 47-placed specialist unit for children with significant learning difficulties, was originally judged to be Good in July 2013 and this most recent inspection is the first since the school converted to become an academy in November 2017.

The purpose of the visit, known as a section 8 inspection, was to confirm that the school remains Good – any evidence that the school should receive a higher or lower grade would have seen it referred to a full section 5 inspection.

Positive comments in the Ofsted report include:

• Pupils enjoy attending this welcoming and inclusive school. There is a strong sense of community. Pupils follow the school’s ethos of being ‘respectful, ready and safe’.
• Leaders have high expectations for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Pupils live up to these expectations.
• Pupils enjoy all the opportunities the school offers them, including forest school, and after-school clubs. Pupils readily take on extra responsibilities, such as being reading ambassadors. They feel proud of the contributions they make to school life.
• Teachers encourage pupils to be aspirational and to think about how they can make a difference in their community. This helps pupils become responsible, caring citizens.
• Parents and carers are positive about the work of the school. They appreciate the caring environment in which their children learn.
• Leaders are passionate about providing the best learning experiences for children. They have ensured the curriculum is broad and ambitious.
• Governors and leaders of Northampton Primary Academy Trust make a positive contribution. They know the school well and offer effective challenge and support. They work effectively with leaders to ensure that the school continues to improve.
• Staff are positive about the support they receive from leaders. They appreciate the consideration given to their workload and well-being. Staff say they are ‘one big family’.
• There is a strong culture of safeguarding. Staff are well trained and receive regular updates. Staff know each pupil well. This means that they can quickly spot concern.

Over the course of two days the inspector met with Headteacher Kathryn Pennington, senior leaders and a range of staff, as well as members of the governing body and representatives of Northampton Primary Academy Trust. Pupils’ behaviour in lessons and around school was also observed, and parent/carer responses to Ofsted’s online survey, Parent View, analysed.

“This incredibly positive, and indeed glowing, report is testament to every single member of our staff and our children,” said Kathryn, who started her new role just one day before the Ofsted inspection. “The inspector has had the opportunity to witness first-hand our mission to be a community-driven school that delivers an ambitious, inclusive and enabling curriculum in which all children achieve exceptionally high standards from their given starting points.

“There are really specific examples in the report about how we help children succeed across a range of subjects, including our approach to curriculum from the early years to Year 6 and devising lessons that build on pupils’ prior learning, how the curriculum effectively supports their personal development, and our commitment to putting reading at the heart of the curriculum. The parent comment highlighted in the report about how teachers go above and beyond for the children here is just wonderful.

“We are also thrilled with the recognition of how pupils with SEND are fully included in all aspects of school life, how staff in our specialist unit are expert practitioners and provide tailored support to make sure all pupils with SEND achieve well, and how pupils in our specialist unit are able to succeed. We are one school, mainstream primary and specialist unit aligned, where children all learn from each other and a community where diversity is embraced and celebrate. As the report says we are ‘one big family’, and we will now move the school forward under our ‘Be kind, work hard, believe’ motto.”

Louise Whaites, Chair of Governors at East Hunsbury Primary School, said: “I am delighted with this report and the insight that it provides on our amazing school. The comments about the children are particularly heart-warming: how they behave well, work hard, have positive attitudes and feel safe, and embrace both the opportunities of school life and also make a contribution to the local area as ‘community champions’. As well as the school staff, I would like to thank my fellow governors whose own positive contribution, effective challenge and rigorous support is also acknowledged by Ofsted.”

Julia Kedwards, CEO of Northampton Primary Academy Trust, said: “We are extremely proud of the educational provision at East Hunsbury Primary School and pleased that this has been commended by Ofsted. This report recognises the excellent leadership, teaching, learning and curriculum, and the hard work and commitment of the wonderful staff who work there.”

Reception places at East Hunsbury Primary School are still available for September 2022. For more information, please contact the school office on 01604 677970 or [email protected].