Free school leadership praised as pupils make good progress in their studies

Saxmundham Free School students celebrate the school’s ‘Good’ Ofsted result with (centre) headteache

Saxmundham Free School students celebrate the schools Good Ofsted result with (centre) headteacher David Lees. Picture: LUKE TRICKER/SECKFORD FOUNDATION FREE SCHOOLS TRUST - Credit: Archant

Leaders of a Suffolk free school have spoken of their delight after Ofsted rated it as ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features.

David Lees, headteacher at Saxmundham Free School, said: “Our Good Ofsted report is testament to the hard work and commitment of our teachers and staff for providing a purposeful and stimulating environment for our students to learn and thrive.

“We are proud to maintain our Good Ofsted and we aim to build on our achievements going forward.”

Inspectors recognised Outstanding qualities in leadership and management, and personal development, behaviour and welfare. Overall the school maintained the Good grade it had previously achieved in 2014.

The inspectors’ report said: “All groups of pupils, including disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities, made good progress.”

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Year 11 students achieved half a GCSE grade higher overall than other students nationally – with GCSE results having risen significantly with many students achieving top 7, 8 and 9 grades (equivalent to A, A* or higher) in August 2017.

Inspectors praised the “exceptional” progress students have made in GCSE English.

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They added “high-quality pastoral care, founded on the trust’s ‘6 c’s to success’ of cooperation, commitment, confidence, community, challenge and celebration, underpins much of the school’s work”, and praised the “good sense of community, where everyone knows you, and staff and pupils are friendly”.

Commenting on Mr Lees’ leadership qualities and the plan for him to become headteacher of both Saxmundham and Beccles Free Schools from April, the report praised how he had “set the tone for the school’s high aspirations, and for the equally high aspirations of pupils and staff” and stated that “Trust leaders acknowledge your proven leadership”.

Suitable plans are in place, it stated, for Mr Lees to build on the good outcomes and continue to secure further improvement.

The report highlighted that parents had also praised the school in Seaman Avenue, and would recommend it to others.

The school is part of The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust also running Beccles and Ixworth Free Schools.

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