'Outstanding' Suffolk schools named

SUFFOLK's top-performing schools and child care providers have been hailed by the Government.Those organisations and individuals judged to be “outstanding” have been celebrated in the annual report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools.

By Jonathan Barnes

SUFFOLK's top-performing schools and child care providers have been hailed by the Government.

Those organisations and individuals judged to be “outstanding” have been celebrated in the annual report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools.

Twelve schools, one college and eleven “early years' settings” (including nurseries, crèches and child minders) in Suffolk received top marks from Ofsted in 2005-6 reports.

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It is the first year that nurseries, crèches and child minders have been included in the list.

The list of top achievers includes eight primary schools, two special schools and two pupil referral units

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Those given the top “grade one” rating were considered outstanding in their overall effectiveness, with all elements of their work judged to be of a high standard.

Bealings School has been recognised for its innovative methods with an “outstanding” rating for the second year running.

The school, near Woodbridge, does not teach traditional subjects and instead puts pupils in charge of fictitious companies and organisations, asking them to solve problems using literacy and numeracy skills.

Over the past three years, a programme called Mantle of the Expert has been developed at the school, which has 105 pupils. It sees pupils using role-play as experts in a particular field, encountering and acting upon problems and opportunities.

Duncan Bathgate, headteacher and team leader, said: “We work to bring the curriculum to life and the Government is very interested in what we are doing.

“It creates a realistic context with real reasons for learning and encourages pupils to find answers by using their skills.”

Hillside special school in Sudbury also received an “outstanding” rating for the second consecutive year.

Headteacher Sue Upson said: “It is wonderful recognition of the learning and teaching which goes on here. I am really proud of everyone and of the care and education we provide for all our pupils.”

John Lynch, headteacher of top-performing Tattingstone Primary School, near Ipswich, said: “Being a small school, we have to work very, very hard to meet our targets and we are very pleased to be judged as outstanding.

“It has been achieved through the hard work and dedication of staff. We are very interested in the children as individuals and we try to make school fun and interesting, encouraging them to be creative and bringing in outside experts like storytellers and artists.”

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds was also praised by inspectors and was the only college or secondary school in the county to be judged as “outstanding”.

“This sort of result is not achieved overnight, or even in the last three years,” said Dr Ann Williams, West Suffolk College principal.

“It is a gradual build-up of high quality provision and facilities within the college since incorporation in 1992, getting better each year.

“We could not have achieved this accolade without a team of staff who simply want to be the best.”

Pauline Pettitt, a childminder for 15 years, said she was “extremely pleased” to be included on the list.

The married mother-of-three, from Ipswich, looks after up to six children at a time before and after school and minds two children under the age of five during the week.

“The inspector spent three hours with me and said I did exceptionally well. I really enjoy looking after the children and I was very happy to be on the list. It is a real honour,” she said.

Angela Warriner a childminder from Bury who was awarded grade one status, said: “I don't think childminders receive enough recognition. We provide home from home care for children - it is about providing a safe and stimulating environment.”

Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, said: “My congratulations go out to the teachers, carers, and leaders of these outstanding schools, colleges and early years' settings for their success in delivering such a high standard of education and care.”

At the end of the 2005-06 summer term, two Suffolk schools were deemed “inadequate” (in special measures) by Ofsted - Ixworth Middle School and Halifax Primary School, Ipswich.


Bealings School, Little Bealings

Hillside Special School, Sudbury

Castle Hill Infant School, Ipswich

Thurlow VC Primary School, Little Thurlow

Kersey Primary School

Risby Primary School

Hintlesham and Chattisham Primary School

Tattingstone Primary School

First Base pupil referral unit, Lowestoft

First Base, Ipswich

The Ashley School, Lowestoft

Bucklesham Primary School

West Suffolk College


Haverhill Summer Playhouse

Pauline Pettitt, Ipswich

Marian Calver, Ipswich

Patricia Burrows

Carolyn Gosling, Lowestoft

Angela Warriner, Bury St Edmunds

Jacqueline Ash

*Five 'outstanding' childminders preferred to remain anonymous

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