Delight at Downlands as Ofsted rates the school 'outstanding'

Mark Wignall, headteacher

Mark Wignall, headteacher

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Exceptional teaching and the exemplary behaviour of its pupils have seen a Hassocks school earn Ofsted's top rating

Downlands Community School underwent a two-day inspection at the end of November and the findings were published today (January 12).

Downlands School has been rated 'outstanding'

Downlands School has been rated 'outstanding'

A team of inspectors, led by Catherine Old, rated the school 'outstanding' in all areas and praised headteacher Mark Wignall and his team as having "led improvement through setting high standards".

In her report, Ms Old said: "The school makes an exemplary contribution to the community; it is a community school in action as well as in name."

Downlands had been rated 'good' following its previous inspection in 2012

Mr Wignall said: "We are delighted to receive the ‘outstanding’ Ofsted judgement which reflects the hard work and commitment of our talented staff over a number of years.

"I would also like to pay tribute to our wonderfully supportive governing body as well as our amazing students and parents/carers.

"This has been a real team effort and a triumph for our school community - the report successfully describes the fantastic quality of provision at Downlands."

His joy was shared by chairman of governors Diana Hunt, who said: "We are delighted that the hard work, professionalism and dedication of all our staff has been recognised by Ofsted. We congratulate them, our students and everyone connected to the school and look forward to the future with added confidence and enthusiasm."

The inspectors praised the exceptional rates of progress made by the pupils, particularly in English, maths, science and humanities, which was seen to be "significantly above the national average".

Ms Old's report stated: "The headteacher’s commitment to place learning at its heart permeates all aspects of this caring school. Morale is high among pupils, staff and parents.

"Pupils benefit from exceptionally strong teaching which is leading to outstanding outcomes for nearly all pupils."

She added: "Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary. They engage enthusiastically in lessons and show respect and care for each other."

Her views were shared by parents. One told her: "I would not hesitate to recommend Downlands – the teaching is excellent, the staff really care, and my children are developing into lovely young adults."