School is like ‘one big family’

A PREPARATORY school’s “confident, happy and curious” pupils and skilful teachers have been praised by inspectors.

Gracefield Preparatory School in Overndale Road was visited by Ofsted during the summer term.

The regulator’s report found the school was ‘good’ in all areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, and early years provision.

The independent fee-paying school has 68 pupils, aged from four to 11, and is owned by Morgan Education Ltd.

Inspectors Malcolm Willis and Hilary Goddard, who visited the school in late June, said pupils were “happy” there, adding: “Many of them use the word ‘fun’ when they describe school.

“They find learning ‘interesting and exciting’.

“Pupils are very proud of their school and work hard.

“Teachers have high expectations for pupils’ learning.”

The inspectors said pupils told them bullying “never happens”, and were supportive and tolerant of each other.

They said: “Pupils say that the school is like ‘one big family’.

“Those from older year groups support the younger pupils. Pupils say that everyone is kind to each other.”

The report said the school had a carefully-designed and well-structured curriculum, with assessment used effectively to identify pupils’ learning needs and inform future learning.

The inspectors said: “Teachers have good subject knowledge and use this to challenge and engage pupils.

“Teachers are skilful at adapting learning for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities, who learn well.”

The school’s “strong focus on reading”, with daily story times, effective phonics programme and well-stocked library, was highlighted, as was work to revise the personal development curriculum.

Parents had “very positive” views and were well-supported as “co-educators”.

The inspectors said: “The proprietor and leaders are ambitious for the school and its children. They consider the school’s performance with care and plan what needs to improve.”

To further improve, the inspectors recommended that the school review some areas of the curriculum to ensure all the important knowledge pupils need to know has been identified.

Head teacher James Gunter said: “I am delighted at the outcome of the inspection, confirming the continued high quality of education at Gracefield School.

“There are so many positive comments to take pride in and I am pleased that they were able to  observe the unique features of our school for themselves. 

“The report shows that our children are ‘confident, happy and curious’, and I am  immensely proud of this as we focus on bringing out the best in them as individuals. 

“The whole team are thrilled that their hard work and dedication has been recognised  and we will now continue to raise standards further and build on our successful  inspection report.”