A pioneering partnership between a primary school and a secondary school in Mid Devon is proving highly successful, according to education inspectors.
Clyst Hydon Primary School and Cullompton Community College began working together at the start of the academic year. It followed a decline in standards at the primary school with a corresponding drop in pupils’ progress and achievement. But inspectors from the school standards agency, Ofsted, say Clyst Hydon is now back on track under acting headteacher, Amanda Duffy, who took up the post last September.
Following a two-day visit to the school last month, lead inspector Steffi Penny concludes: “The school is now improving. It has turned a corner. “The partnership work with Cullompton Community College and support from the local authority (Devon County Council) is paying dividends. “Actions taken by the current leaders from this partnership are improving the school. “(They) have an accurate knowledge of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement (and) a clear and sustainable plan to continue to make the changes needed. “Staff morale is high. Teachers are working hard to develop their skills, have embraced the changes made by the acting head and are working in closer partnership with each other, and other schools, to share and develop best practice. “Pupils and families are generally highly supportive of the school and are happy with the new school arrangements.”
Ms Penny says the progress of pupils is improving as a result of the recent improvements in the quality of teaching. The children also benefit from visits to the college to use its more extensive facilities which helps to extend the quality of their learning in a range of subjects. “As a result, pupils are more engaged in their learning and making faster progress,” she says. They enjoy coming to school and are polite and courteous. They behave well around the school and in lessons and feel safe. The school promotes their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development well. Ms Penny says the 53 children at Clyst Hydon regularly take part in extracurricular activities and external events in which – given the small size of the school – they are extremely successful. She says all the changes that have been made since the start of the academic year have not yet had time to bed in fully and consequently the school still requires improvement.
School leaders and governors should continue to drive improvement and raise standards, particularly in English, maths and science, says Ms Penny. They should support teachers to improve their teaching so that pupils make faster progress and achieve higher standards with a curriculum that has more emphasis on English, maths and science. And they should ensure that sufficiently challenging work is set for the most able pupils.
Mrs Duffy said: “I was delighted to be asked to lead the management partnership between Clyst Hydon Primary School and Cullompton Community College in September 2016. “I immediately identified the untapped potential for Clyst Hydon to become an exceptional school and put in place a robust and rigorous strategic improvement plan. “Clyst Hydon is a lovely school and the parents, pupils and staff work extremely well together in creating a caring, safe, happy and high quality learning environment. “I am pleased that our recent Ofsted inspection endorses our secure plan for the future of this wonderful school and I look forward to building on our early successes.”