West Berkshire Council

Westwood Farm Junior leap up in Ofsted ratings

Westwood Farm Junior School in Tilehurst has leapt up in Ofsted ratings.

Westwood Farm Junior School Ofsted April 2017

Issued on: 5 April 2017

It came out of Special Measures in December 2014 and now from 'Requiring Improvement' to 'Good'.

A great deal of the positive shift has been attributed to Executive Headteacher Barbara Hunter. Prior to taking up the headship last September, Mrs Hunter, a former Head of Francis Baily Primary School in Thatcham, had a long standing working relationship with the school when employed by West Berkshire Council as their School Improvement Advisor. She attributes the close relationship she built with the school during that time as a key driver for her return to being a Headteacher.

The Ofsted report states that "Leadership and governance have evolved since the last inspection and both aspects are increasingly strong. The arrival of the executive headteacher has brought fresh impetus and momentum. Together with her leadership team, she has swiftly secured a step change in the school's performance."

It goes on to say that "Staff across the school share a commitment to making a difference for all the school's pupils. A sense of determination, optimism and a 'can do' attitude permeate all areas of school life. Staff, parents and pupils alike share a belief in the school and its leadership. One staff member summed this up as follows: 'The atmosphere has transformed and the school seems a happier and more inclusive place for all.' A parent echoed this, stating that the executive headteacher has 'brought such positivity into the school'.

"Leaders have created a culture of continuous improvement.  Teachers who need it benefit from coaching which helps them improve weaker elements of their practice.

Staff were almost unanimous about the effectiveness of this work. One teacher captured the staff mood, stating that leaders are 'incredibly supportive of my development. I feel safe sharing frustrations and successes without being judged and know I can get the help I need for myself and children. I wouldn't want to work anywhere else'."

The report adds that "West Berkshire Council has provided helpful and timely support throughout the school's improvement journey. The local authority reviews of pupil premium and special educational needs spending, carried out in the summer of 2016, were particularly helpful."

It concludes by saying that "Governance is increasingly strong. Governors know the school well and have an incisive understanding of most aspects of the school's performance." Chair of Governors, Sharon Goddard also has a special working relationship with the school as part of her role on the council's school improvement team.

Barbara Hunter said, "We are all so delighted by Ofsted's confirmation that we are now a good school. I'm very happy to be a part of Westwood Farm's exciting journey and to see all the work of the staff and pupils coming to fruition. This school means a lot to everyone involved in this improvement process and it is our mission to continue to improve so that our Federation of schools at Westwood Farm are the very best they can be."

Cllr Lynne Doherty, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Education said, "This is a fantastic achievement that has been achieved by people who care deeply for the school and for the future of its pupils. Everyone at Westwood Farm has shown an extraordinary desire to make this school a great learning space where pupils and staff can thrive and achieve."