Bury St Edmunds: County Upper School sees its eighth consecutive “oustanding” Ofsted

Headteacher Vicky Neale and pupils at County Upper School in Bury celebrate their 8th 'Outstanding'

Headteacher Vicky Neale and pupils at County Upper School in Bury celebrate their 8th 'Outstanding' Ofsted report. - Credit: Archant

A secondary school in Bury St Edmunds - which is part of an academy trust - has received its eighth consecutive “outstanding” judgement by inspectors.

County Upper School, which became an academy in 2011, has received the highest possible rating by Ofsted in all areas following an inspection last month.

Headteacher Vicky Neale said it was the eighth consecutive “outstanding” since 1998, including five full inspections, two surveys and one for science.

The school is part of an ‘all-through’ model from three to 19, called the Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust, which includes Horringer Court and Westley Middle Schools and Barrow CEVC Primary School.

If Suffolk County Council’s plans to move to two-tier education in the Bury area are successful, the middle schools in the trust will be the only ones left in the area.

Speaking of the glowing Ofsted report, Mrs Neale said: “Obviously we are thrilled and it’s a tribute to everybody - pupils, staff, parents, governors - and there will only be a handful of schools nationally that will have had eight outstanding Ofsteds. There’s certainly not another one in Suffolk. This is a new, tougher framework and we were still judged to be outstanding in every category.”

She added the report picked up on the whole ethos of the school, adding it was not just about results, but an outstanding all-round education.

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The report said students made “rapid progress” regardless of their starting points and abilities and the continuity of students’ learning is supported very well through the academy trust.

It said the leadership and management of the school was outstanding, “driven by the dedicated and visionary headteacher”.

Mrs Neale said the report was “further confirmation” the all-through model was working.

Chairman of governors Richard Fletcher said: “The inspection was led by one of the most senior of Her Majesty’s Inspectors and she was extremely impressed not only by our school but by the academy trust arrangements.

“As the organisation of schools in the town is reviewed, it is vital that our all-through system is given serious consideration both to support the cross-phase, all-age relationships which are at the heart of Suffolk’s Raising the Bar plan [to approve educational attainment] and to ensure our high standards are replicated for every pupil.”

Currently consultations are under way in Bury on the Catholic schools and non-Catholic schools moving to two-tier education, but the Bury Academy Trust is not part of this.