School intends to ‘aim high’ after being told to improve


A headteacher said she and her team intended to “aim high” after their school was told to improve by Ofsted.

St Giles School, in Horsted Keynes, underwent a two-day inspection in January and the findings of inspector David Harris were published on Monday (February 13).

The inspection came after a period of considerable change at the school, and Mr Harris praised the improvement work already carried out by headteacher Hilary Douch, who was appointed last term.

He said: “The new headteacher knows exactly how to improve the school and improve pupils’ progress.”

Mr Harris recognised that more than half the teachers at St Giles had joined the school within the past year – and that the team was equally as confident as their head that their school was on the way up.

He said: “Staff say they are proud to be part of the school community and show great commitment to tackling the issues identified by the new headteacher.”

Looking at the areas in need of improvement, Mr Harris said teachers’ expectations were not high enough, varying from class to class, and often failing to challenge the most able pupils.

When it came to the children's progress, they were seen to be above the expected standard in reading, writing and maths at the end of Year 2, but Department for Education data showed progress in writing and maths was well below average by the end of Year 6.

In his report, Mr Harris called on Mrs Douch and her team to ensure the right level of work was set so pupils could make faster progress.

Looking at the school's strengths, the children themselves were described as polite, friendly, well-mannered and “clearly proud of their school”, with one youngster saying: “The school is caring and we work together well.”

Mrs Douch said: “We believe that this inspection has created a unique opportunity for us to appraise what we do and how we do it.

"This means that we can celebrate what we do well at St Giles, improve upon what we need to do better and do differently things which the inspector, and we, considered were not working.”

She added: “There is an energy and excitement within the school which we intend to exploit to its full potential. The staff are committed professionals who want to, and will, provide the best education possible for our pupils.

"We welcome the ongoing, positive support of our parents and governors."

Describing Mr Harris' report as "fair reflection of the school", Mrs Douch said: "The plan to address the additional issues raised by Ofsted is already being implemented and I anticipate that all the issues raised will be addressed by the end of this school year."

Looking to the future, she added: “As a school community, we believe that we should aim high and we have no doubts at all that St Giles has the potential to be an outstanding school.”

To read the report in full, log on to the Ofsted website.

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