Newton Road School in Rushden is celebrating after an Ofsted inspection showed that the school had turned a previous report that showed it to be inadequate into one that saw it graded Good in nearly all areas.
The school has gone from strength to strength since it joined Nene Education Trust in 2018 and the recent Ofsted inspection is testament to the improvements that have been made.
Principal Kerry Mills said that while there was still some way to go, the report showed up nothing the school is not already aware of and that staff, pupils and parents had worked together to bring about change, even through the disruption of the last couple of years.
“It feels wonderful to know that the core strengths of early reading, early years and maths are all strong,” said Kerry. “Since joining Nene Education Trust we have seen investment in infrastructure and support that has allowed us to develop the school.
“Prior to 2018, as Risdene Academy, we had had a very turbulent few years with a high turnover of staff but over the last four years we have been able to recruit and develop the leadership team and teaching staff, see them develop and some become leaders themselves, promoting from within and coming together with a clear purpose and a clear vision.”
Although the overall grade is Requires Improvement, the school was rated Good in leadership and management, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and Early Years Foundation Stage.
The school, which has a high proportion of SEND pupils, prides itself on its inclusive approach and the involvement of parents has increased considerably since lockdown, when home schooling led to parents becoming more involved in their children’s education.
Kerry added: “When you think that we have been through all that since the last inspection, it makes us even more proud of what we have achieved. We know there is more we can do, but we took the decision to strengthen certain areas and core subjects, more specifically early reading, early years and maths, alongside inclusion, safeguarding and pastoral care. Time is still needed to get to where we want to be on other foundation subjects, they are not yet embedded, but they will be.”
Chris Hill, CEO of Nene Education Trust, said: “Short of getting Good overall, this is the best outcome we could have hoped for. It certainly reflects perfectly our own self-evaluation and the lead inspector was very clear that to reach this point is an achievement everyone should be proud of, especially as the four years since 2018 have been rather disrupted.
“The grades achieved within the headline areas are remarkable and should be celebrated. To move a school up two Ofsted grades in the timeframe we have had is something to shout about.”
During lockdown, Newton Road School stayed open to more than 100 children because of their additional needs. Staff went to extra lengths to support those that couldn’t access other services that temporarily weren’t available. The school has also strengthened its speech and language provision recently, having seen the effect lockdown has had on the development of some children as a result of not being able to attend nursery as normal during COVID.
Kerry Mills added: “The report shows the progress we have made and it’s a reflection on the staff – both the current team and all those who have helped get us to this point – the children and the parents. We are all driving towards the same goals, and parents are buying into our vision, so it’s lovely for us to be recognised for what we have done, and what we are confident we’ll be able to continue to do.”
Nene Education Trust is a multi-academy trust comprising Newton Road School in Rushden, Windmill Primary in Raunds, Stanwick Primary, Raunds Park Infants, St. Peter’s CE Junior, Woodford CE Primary, Redwell Primary in Wellingborough and Manor School in Raunds.
For further information visit the Nene Education Trust website.