Outstanding future on the cards for academy

Blackthorns Primary School vice-principal Tom Jordan and principal Marianne Brand with some of the pupils
Blackthorns Primary School vice-principal Tom Jordan and principal Marianne Brand with some of the pupils

An Ofsted inspector has hinted that Blackthorns Community Primary Academy is on the road to being rated ‘outstanding’.

The school, in Lindfield, recently underwent a short inspection, its first visit since being rated ‘good’ in February 2012.

In her report, inspector Maxine Mcdonald-Taylor said: “Based on the evidence gathered during this short inspection, I am of the opinion that the school has demonstrated strong practice and marked improvement in certain areas.

“This may indicate that the school is improving towards being outstanding.”

Praising the work of principal Marianne Brand and her team, she said: “You and your leaders are dedicated to ensuring that all aspects of the school are as strong as they can be. You pursue this aim with passion, determination and vigour.”

During the inspection, Ms Mcdonald-Taylor met some of the children, who she said spoke enthusiastically about their school and were keen to tell her how much their writing had improved.

She said that youngsters were “exceptionally well behaved and polite” and took pride in their work.

Teaching was seen to be interesting, exciting and engaging, with pupils progressing better than the national average in reading, writing and maths.

Ms Mcdonald-Taylor said reading was a particular strength of the school.

Looking at the next steps for the school, she said leaders should ensure the personal progress of pupils with special educational needs was tracked more fully.

In addition, new and successful strategies needed to be fully embedded across the school to ensure all pupils made “the strong progress of which they are capable”.

Ms Brand, said: “It is wonderful to receive this outcome and it is especially heartening to know that our improvement journey to become an outstanding school is on track. I would like to thank all of our pupils, staff, parents and carers for their ongoing contribution and commitment.”

Blackthorns became part of the University of Brighton Academies Trust in 2015.

Chief executive Dr John Smith said: “I am delighted with this outcome for the whole Blackthorns community.

“We are confident that Blackthorns has the potential to achieve an outstanding rating in the near future and look forward to the forthcoming inspection.”

There has been plenty of good news for Ms Brand and her team recently.

Ofsted’s report came shortly after the Schools, Students and Teachers Network recognised Blackthorns as one of the best-performing primary schools in the country, based on data from the Department of Education and Ofsted.