Struggling school praised by Ofsted

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Teachers and pupils at a Dales junior school are beginning the new term on a jubilant note after learning it has been taken out of special measures.

Wirksworth Juniors was branded a failing school by Ofsted, in October 2009.

But inspectors say the school can now come out of special measures, thanks to a rigorous programme of improvements led by the new headteacher.

Headteacher Lesley Grover, who took up post last September, said: “The school has made good progress because of everyone’s hard work and commitment.

“We are determined that we will continue to improve and provide an excellent standard of education for all our pupils.”

In their latest report education watchdogs said the school provided a satisfactory standard of education for its pupils, with many good features.

They also found that teaching and learning had significantly improved, lessons in literacy and numeracy were of good quality across the school, pupils were well behaved and respond well to staff’s high expectations.

Chair of governors Gisela Vidal said: “We are delighted to have received this good report but see this as a first step.

“We have already got plans in place to tackle the issues for improvement raised by the inspectors.

“With the support of parents, and our leadership team and staff, we can continue to drive up standards in the coming months and years.” In 2009 Ofsted rated the junior school as “inadequate” and pronounced the same verdict on pupils’ achievement, the quality of teaching and the effectiveness of leadership and management.

And there were concerns about the arrangements for the safe-guarding of pupils because information kept about the adults who worked with them was found to be incomplete.

An action plan has been put in place and the school will face regular visits by inspectors, and told it must improve standards in writing and maths, leadership and management, marking, and safe-guarding arrangements.

Inspectors, who visited the school in Wash Green for two days last month, said the whole school has “worked tirelessly” to promote improvement.

Councillor Mike Longden, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for education, said, “We’re delighted the measures put in place to improve the quality and standard of education provided at Wirksworth Junior School have worked so well and so quickly.”

n Is your child at the school? Send your praise for the success of the turnaround to news@matlockmercury.co.uk