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Education Secretary's top marks for popular Suffolk primary school

PUBLISHED: 16:30 17 October 2018

Education Secretary Damian Hinds and Dr Dan Poulter with headteacher Julia Waters and pupils at Palgrave Primary School. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER

Education Secretary Damian Hinds and Dr Dan Poulter with headteacher Julia Waters and pupils at Palgrave Primary School. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER

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Education Secretary Damian Hinds has given top marks to one of the smallest schools in Suffolk during a visit – boosting its hopes of expanding in the future.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds with pupils at Palgrave Primary School. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER.Education Secretary Damian Hinds with pupils at Palgrave Primary School. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER.

Palgrave Primary School, on the Suffolk/Norfolk border near Diss, is in an area that is fast becoming a popular choice for relocation from London, with further proposed housing development anticipated in the years ahead.

In recent years, there has been a drive to maximise pupil numbers and to increase educational attainment; Palgrave has doubled in size – and was rated as Good at its last Ofsted inspection in 2017.

The school is housed in a traditional, old school building with no land surrounding it, so there is no capacity for it to grow in its current site.

The small playground cannot accommodate all the children at break times and there is no dedicated, outdoor space for the children to enjoy outdoor activities or sports.

Dr Dan Poulter, headteacher Julia Waters, and Education Secretary Damian Hinds at Palgrave School. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTERDr Dan Poulter, headteacher Julia Waters, and Education Secretary Damian Hinds at Palgrave School. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER

It is hoping to be able to expand, and hopes to use Mr Hinds’ visit as a springboard for that.

The Education Secretary met the children and said: “It was fantastic to meet with teachers and pupils at the wonderful Palgrave Primary School, and to hear about the importance of the school to the local community.

“I was given a very warm welcome, and the enthusiasm of the pupils and the dedication of the teachers were clear to see. We want all children to have the chances and choices to fulfil their potential, and I look forward to hearing how the inspiring work at Palgrave continues.”

Local MP Dr Dan Poulter said: “I have long been supportive of Palgrave Primary School and am delighted that the Secretary of State for Education accepted my invitation to visit the school and see for himself the fantastic work going on here, despite the obvious challenges presented by the Victorian building.

“Only a few years ago, the school was struggling with around 40 pupils, but with pupil numbers now in excess of 80, there is a pressing need for new, fit-for-purpose facilities.”

Headteacher Julia Waters added: “We feel truly honoured that the Secretary of State has visited us. I am proud of the excellent staff, pupils and community who have made this school such a success. We are a school for the community and I feel very sad when I have refuse places to local children.”

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