The latest Ofsted inspection report on Quarry Hill Primary and Pre School in Bradleigh Avenue, Grays, states it “requires improvement”, a step forward from its previous “inadequate” rating from February 2012.
Cllr John Kent, Thurrock Council’s education portfolio holder, speaking on Monday (24 June) when the report was published, said: “As a school governor myself, I know the frustrations schools face once they have been almost ridiculed as inadequate or, as most people say, ‘failing’.
“I visited Quarry Hill on Thursday last week, and I could see for myself that it’s not a failing school, and in some areas, it’s good.
“Unfortunately under the new Ofsted system they are heavily restricted about what they can say, but the report itself does highlight the many improvements that have been made.”
The report says the school’s progress in reading and mathematics has improved over the past two years and that “pupils behave well” – the behaviour and safety of pupils section of the report is rated “Good”.
In addition, pupils develop good understanding of the cultural diversity within the school and value others’ beliefs and ways of life, and the leaders and governors “have an accurate view of the school’s effectiveness”.
Cllr Kent added: “This doesn’t mean everything’s rosy in the garden at Quarry Hill yet, there’s plenty of work still to do, but I can say for certain that the whole school is determined to get a ‘good’ or even ‘outstanding’ rating as soon as possible – even if that is a year or two away.”
Ofsted rate four areas of schools it visits. While “behaviour and safety” was good, the remaining three – achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, and leadership and management – were requiring improvement.
Head teacher, Martin Cowpland, said: “I would like to thank the whole school community for the hard work put in to bring about the improvements we have made. This includes the local council which, as the Ofsted inspectors say, has ‘provided effective support to the school’.
“We continue to work closely with the Local Authority’s School Improvement team, and it has made sure we have the expertise on hand to move things forward.”
As a former “inadequate” school, the leadership at Quarry Hill were keen to explore all opportunities to speed up its improvements and, working with the council and the interim executive board, secured support for its partnership with a local outstanding ‘teaching school’ under the Catalyst.