Watchdog praises school’s progress

Happy times: Ms Melvin pictured with comedian Steve Royle during the opening of the school's new entrance
Happy times: Ms Melvin pictured with comedian Steve Royle during the opening of the school's new entrance
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Bosses at a struggling rural school have been told they have “dusted themselves down” and are “not reflecting on what might have been” after a damning Ofsted report.

Great Eccleston Copp CE Primary School was told it required improvement, after an inspection in September found progress in juniors had declined and teachers’ expectations were not always high enough.

And the school reportedly stalled in making immediate improvement following the judgement, as the headteacher was on a long-term absence, which caused a “hiatus” and progress to “stall”.

But now, after a follow-up visit in November, the headteacher, Beverley Melvin, has now been praised for being “very busy”, despite her absence, updating policies, reviewing systems and securing external support.

And the school has been told “senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement”.

Ms Melvin said: “We are all committed to ensuring that we return to our rightful position of being a good school.”

But a letter from the inspectorate also said it is time for all at the school to look at progressing.

Inspector Joanne Olsson said: “Everyone found the recent inspection outcome difficult to swallow, and not all agree it is an accurate judgement.

“Nonetheless, the staff and the governors have dusted yourselves down and set about making the changes to restore the school to its former success.

“As a result, time is not being wasted reflecting on what might have been and everyone is looking to the future.

“The scales are falling from your eyes ... there is a tough job ahead.”

The inspector notes that the teachingof reading and spelling has been overhauled in response to poor results from the previous approach, and that classrooms have been redone to be brighter and more engaging for children.

And leadership has been restructured at the school to give greater responsibility to others so all does not rest on Ms Melvin’s shoulders.

The school’s pupils were praised for being “articulate and insightful”.