School out of special measures after ‘rapid’ improvement

Bedgrove pupils celebrate their 'good' Ofsted result
Bedgrove pupils celebrate their 'good' Ofsted result

An Aylesbury school has gone from requiring special measures to a ‘good’ overall Ofsted rating in just two years.

Bedgrove Junior School was slammed by inspectors in 2013 for the ‘widespread underachievement’ of pupils – but after the arrival of headteacher Gwen Tong, standards have ‘improved substantially and are now above average’.

Ofsted said Bedgrove had made a ‘rapid’ improvement and was now ‘outstanding’ for the behaviour and safety of children and ‘good’ in terms of pupils’ achievement, quality of teaching and leadership and management.

Inspectors visited the school over two days in June, where they observed lessons and met with students and staff as part of the inspection.

Their new report states: “Teaching is good overall and a growing amount is outstanding. Pupils enthusiasm to learn and motivation to achieve well create a vibrant atmosphere around the school.”

The report also highlights pupil’s behaviour as ‘brilliant’.

Mrs Tong has been especially praised by inspectors for her ‘excellent leadership’ to raise the quality of teaching.

“Building on the excellent work of the Interim executive head teacher she has rapidly improved the school so that it is a place where every pupil matters, where teaching is good and improving, and where pupils achieve well.

“The school is very well placed to improve further and parents recognise the difference the headteacher has made.”

In addition, Ofsted commented on how the school is ‘an extremely caring place where pupils are kept safe and every pupil’s welfare matters greatly’.

Mrs Tong said: “We were very pleased with the report and felt that it is an accurate reflection of the school. We are determined we are going to become an outstanding school over time and we felt that this inspection was really a good signal of the progress that the school has made.

“It’s always pleasing when Ofsted is able to recognise the hard work put in by all the staff and pupils of the school.”

Ofsted only had two main criticisms. They said that ‘while pupils’ progress in mathematics is improving strongly, it is not as rapid as their progress in

reading and writing’, with disabled pupils and those with special educational also making slower progress in the subject. Pupils’ overall achievement in Year 3 is also ‘not as good as it is in other year groups’.

Inspectors acknowledged the school’s highly effective governors commenting: “They know the school well, challenge leaders regularly and monitor improvements closely.”

Zahir Mohammed, Buckinghamshire County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills said: “The results speak for themselves. We have a lot to be proud of with the pupils, staff and governors at Bedgrove Junior School having put in so much hard work to turn the fortune of this school around in just under two years.

“I am very pleased that this work has now been recognised in their latest Ofsted report. I would like to congratulate everyone involved for their hard work and service.”