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School earns highest rating

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A primary school has been judged "outstanding" by inspectors for the first time in its history.

Swallowdale Primary, in Melton, has been given the top rating by the Government's education watchdog, Ofsted.

Its inspectors visited the school last month and a detailed report on their findings has just been published.

Head teacher Debbie Vials said: "I have a great team of staff who work hard and show dedication to pupils and their professional development."

Miss Vials said she was particularly pleased with the result given Ofsted's tough new inspection criteria, which includes giving only one day's notice before an inspection, instead of several weeks.

"We received a phone call at 2pm one day and by 9am the next day inspectors were here," she said.

"We knew what we were doing was good, but to have it validated externally is fantastic.

"It's the first time in the school's history it has received the highest possible rating."

Inspectors said pupils' attainment in English and maths was well above average, that teaching was outstanding and activities in lessons were well planned and made high demands of pupils.

Behaviour was "exemplary" and the school was managed exceptionally well, their report said.

Inspectors also said pupils made rapid progress and their needs were swiftly and accurately identified.

The report praised teachers for lessons which were "lively and varied", and said parents' relationship with the school was very positive.

Miss Vials, who has led the school for the past seven years, said: "We're constantly assessing ourselves to see where improvements can be made to teaching.

"The effort that's been put into that means we have bright, interesting and engaging lessons which are thoroughly enjoyed by pupils.

"The knock-on effect is that behaviour is very good because children are fully engaged.

"We have focused on maths and English over the past few years and that shines through in the results we achieve.

"Last summer's exam results showed 71 per cent of pupils reaching level five in their reading and 57 per cent in maths."

Level four is deemed to be the appropriate level for 11-year-olds and those who achieve level five are ahead for their age.

Inspectors said pupils were taught a broad and interesting range of subjects, and the way in which staff gathered and recorded information about pupils' ability had improved so that all work was tailored to meet individual needs.

Year six pupil Charlotte Ainge, said: "I like Swallowdale because the teachers support me and if I don't understand something they help."

Fellow year six pupil Amy Gurney said: "I love this school because we're made to feel important and teachers help me to be responsible."

Councillor Ivan Ould, Leicestershire County Council's children's spokesman, said: "This is great news. I would like to congratulate everyone involved on achieving this rating."

After Swallowdale's previous full inspection, in 2007, inspectors said the school was good.

School earns highest rating


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