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Rushmere Hall Primary School in Ipswich awarded ‘good’ Ofsted rating after rapid improvement

PUBLISHED: 10:44 08 September 2017

Suzanne Hills and headteacher Paul Stock celebrating the news with pupils at Rushmere Hall Primary School. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suzanne Hills and headteacher Paul Stock celebrating the news with pupils at Rushmere Hall Primary School. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Children have become strong readers and inspirational role models at an Ipswich primary school which has overturned its below-standard Ofsted rating.

Rushmere Hall Primary School in Ipswich has been given a 'good' Ofsted rating. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRushmere Hall Primary School in Ipswich has been given a 'good' Ofsted rating. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Better teaching and the headteacher’s “unwavering” drive for rapid improvement are also behind Rushmere Hall Primary School’s upgrade from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ after a two-day inspection in late June.

The 627-pupil school in Lanark Road was rated ‘good’ in all five key areas.

Headteacher Paul Stock said there is a “real buzz” around the school. He joined in September 2016, a year after the school lost its ‘good’ rating amid concerns over underachievement and leadership.

Paul Stock, headteacher of Rushmere Hall Primary School, has been striving for improvements after taking over last year.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPaul Stock, headteacher of Rushmere Hall Primary School, has been striving for improvements after taking over last year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He said: “It’s about giving parents, when they hear the name of the school, that confidence. We are impressed we have got this far. We have got real momentum and there is a super positive feeling.

“I cannot stand complacency and we will work just as hard to be inventive.”

Deborah Pargeter, lead inspector, said Mr Stock’s resolve to improve the school is impressive. She added: “He is clear about what the school needs to do... and is setting a strong course of rapid improvement.”

Pupils now have a love of reading and are positive role models, according to Ofsted. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPupils now have a love of reading and are positive role models, according to Ofsted. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The teaching of phonics is now a “strength of the school”, she said, resulting in over 75% of pupils reaching the national SATs benchmark in reading this year.

Pupils now enjoy reading for leisure and teaching assistants promote a “love of stories”.

Mr Stock said: “Our biggest change has been in phonics. We have radically changed how we teach it. We brought in a new programme Read Write Inc. Children are really engaged, there is lots of repetition, and it is quite snappy. It makes it memorable and we have had excellent results. Our reception children now in Year 1 are so much stronger.”

The school elected their own student Prime Minister during the General Election and pupils hold positions of responsibility at play- and lunch-times, such as mentors.

Mr Stock said: “We don’t like following the rest of the world. We do things a bit differently. Year 5 pupils marketed manifestos for our own election, sparking a lot of interest in politics, and we have a Brexit display board, and older children resolve conflicts in the playground. English and maths are important, but our job is to spark interest in many ways.”

Ofsted also praised good behaviour, teachers’ high expectations, and governance.

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