Celebrations as Milltown PS passes inspection

MILLTOWN Primary School’s governors, staff and pupils were celebrating after the school passed it’s recent inspection with flying colours.

The inspectors found that ‘the quality of education provided by the school is very good’ and the quality of the arrangements for pastoral care is ‘outstanding’.

The inspection, which took place in mid March, focused on the children’s achievements and standards in literacy and numeracy, the quality of provision for learning, and the quality of leadership and management.

The children’s attainments in English and mathematics were found to be ‘very good’ with the standards achieved being ‘in line with or above expectation.’ It was noted that children with special educational needs were supported well and also achieved in line with their ability. Strong parental partnerships have been established to assist the children’s learning and development.

“Being a small school, the children get lots of individual attention to help them progress, but we consider it important that parents and teachers work together as the children can achieve so much more,” commented principal, Caroline Garrett.

During the inspection the inspectors talked to a number of pupils. The children were ‘very confident and articulate’ - they even were satisfied with the amount of homework they received. The children’s excellent behaviour was praised and it was noted that they were ‘inquisitive and welcoming to visitors and newcomers to the school’. They talked readily about the broad range of enjoyable learning experiences and the care and support provided by all the staff.

Classroom teaching was observed and the majority was deemed to be ‘very good or better’ including lessons ranked as outstanding. The hard work of the teaching and support staff was acknowledged and reference was made to ‘their skilful use of stimulating, differentiated problem-solving tasks that effectively match the children’s individual needs’. The children appreciated the help given by the teaching staff to support their learning.

“All of the staff work very hard for the benefit of the children. It is lovely to have that work acknowledged and confirmation that we are doing a very good job,” noted Miss Garrett.

The inspectors found the school to have ‘an inclusive ethos’ where all the children who enrol, including those from other schools or countries, are warmly welcomed. Every child is ‘valued and listened to’, and ‘links with the parents are encouraged to share information about the children’s progress and development.’

The school has ‘very good comprehensive arrangements in place for safeguarding children’ and ‘gives excellent attention to promoting healthy eating and physical activity.’ There is a strong emphasis placed on active learning in the outdoors.

Miss Garrett commented, “We are like a big family. Each child is an individual, who doesn’t get lost in the crowd. “It is important that the children feel happy and secure to get the best from their education.“

The report stated that ‘the teaching Principal’s commitment to the continuing development of the school is very evident’. Quality experiences are provided for the children and emphasis is placed on improving further the standards they attain. The Principal leads and manages ‘very effectively and ensures that the children are safe and secure within an attractive learning environment.’ The leadership is shared by curriculum co-ordinators who work to ‘provide effective curricular leadership’.

The school has ‘very good processes for whole-school self-evaluation and school development planning (SDP)’. ‘Effective consultation’ takes place with all stakeholders in the school and this is supported by ‘effective action-planning for improvement’. “Continually working towards improving the outcomes of the children is a very important part of our job,” stated Caroline Garrett. “We want them all to achieve the very best they can.”

The report added that the school accommodation is maintained to a ‘very high standard’ and includes a spacious outdoor learning area. Miss Garrett commented, “We have a fantastic site. There is lots of outdoor space which we make use of in all areas of the curriculum.”

The governors of the school congratulated the staff, both teaching and non-teaching, on the excellent report. Alan Mateer, Chairman of the Board of Governors stated, “The report wasn’t a surprise to the governors – the staff of the school has always worked hard and provided an excellent education for the children in their care. Although Milltown is a small school, it can provide an education just as good as, if not better than, larger schools.”