Ross Minton, Headteacher at Churchfield Church School in Highbridge

Highbridge’s Churchfield Primary School has been praised for its ‘positive atmosphere’ created by the new headteacher and staff in an inspection report from Ofsted released this week.

Churchfield has previously had ‘requires improvement’ judgements but is on the path to a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating after inspectors gave wide-ranging praise to the school, which is led by headteacher Ross Minton, pictured, who took on the role last May.

Ofsted particularly noted the “calm and purposeful atmosphere” as a result of the school’s new behaviour policy and remarked on how children are “developing a love of reading through support from expert staff.”

The inspectors also remarked on the support arranged by staff for children affected by the pandemic in school and with outside agencies. Staff “feel valued and better able to carry out their roles,” they added.

In several areas which drew praise, inspector Lydia Pride found work to improve the school has gained momentum following the appointment of new personnel to the trust and local governing body.

The report also highlighted that the teaching of early reading has significantly improved. Leaders across the school are clear that “if they [pupils] can’t read, they can’t flourish.”

Ofsted adds the school has also started to create a curriculum which considers local needs, placing high value on pupils’ communication and language skills from the moment they join.

And the report states that teachers now play a bigger role in supporting pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. They have access to rich information about pupils’ strengths and difficulties. Increasingly, staff take the lead, working with parents to agree pupils’ targets and plans.

Mr Minton’s team was also praised for overall curriculum work and suggested this work is further developed.

The headteacher told Burnham-On: “The second Ofsted we have had in two months and to come out of both of them with a clear indication that we are on the right track, making the right choices and supporting our children to be the best they can be is a superb feeling!”

“I cannot praise the team enough, they are dedicated, ambitious for all the children, determined and passionate – this is what we want from our teachers and support team; the outcomes are hugely positive for our children and community.”

Ms Pride said: “Leaders and those responsible for governance are taking effective action in order for the school to become a good school.”

She added that the school benefited from support from the Bath and Wells Multi Academy Trust, of which it is part.

Since last year, a new chair of the local governing body and a new Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator have been appointed.


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