12 April 2019

Hill West excels as Ofsted praises school’s ‘strong practice’

Dedicated staff and pupils at Hill West Primary School, part of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), are celebrating the results of the academy’s latest Ofsted inspection – which commends its strong practice and improved performance.

Following an Ofsted short inspection in March, leaders at the popular school are delighted that inspectors recognised the “real and many strengths of Hill West.” Among other positive findings, the report concludes that teaching across school is really strong, excellently paced and challenging for all learners, irrespective of the subject being taught.

Hill West, which was already a ‘good’ school, was inspected under Ofsted’s section 8 inspection framework, which determines whether a school is still ‘good’.  It cannot change any of the previous inspection grading or outcomes.  The strong practice demonstrated by the school will now result in a section 5 two-day inspection in the next one to two years – and leaders are confident that Hill West has the potential to be rated ‘outstanding’.

Headteacher Dr Beth Clarke said:

We’re delighted by these latest Ofsted findings. The inspector  recognised that there was sufficient evidence of strong practice and improved performance across our school, meaning that if we had undergone a Section 5 inspection there was reason to believe that we may have been judged outstanding. Our next inspection will then have the ability to change our Ofsted outcome from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ if the new team also believe this is warranted through sufficient evidence.”

She added:

I would like to reiterate my thanks to our staff, children and parents, for their unwavering support during our inspection and of course I couldn’t be prouder of everybody.  It’s a real privilege to work at Hill West and be part of, what I believe, is a community full of belief, aspiration, acceptance, pride, kindness, and warmth.”

Hill West continues to ensure excellent outcomes for children at the end of each key phase and stage that sees children perform significantly better than other children nationally.  In 2018, the number of pupils achieving the Met standard in Reading, Writing and Maths combined was 82 per cent compared to just 64 per cent nationally.  A significant proportion of pupils at Hill West go on to achieve the very highest standard too placing the school in the top rankings nationally.

The school’s latest judgement follows the successful Ofsted inspection of Hill West Nursery in November, which rated the nursery as ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ features.

ATLP CEO Richard Gill is delighted with Hill West’s continuous progress. He said:

This report recognises the fantastic improvements made since 2015’s ‘good’ inspection. Congratulations to Dr Beth Clarke, who is an exceptional headteacher, and her team on their achievements. I’m confident that when Ofsted returns next year, the outcome will reflect the excellence embedded across this truly outstanding school. I’m delighted that our schools are happy places where children thrive. Hill West’s mission is to ensure that ‘learning is fun and all children succeed’ and we end the term in the knowledge that they have more than risen to this challenge.”

Highlights – Hill West Ofsted inspection March 2019

 The school demonstrates a sharp and reliable understanding of what it needs to do next.

 Leaders’ approach to the curriculum is at the heart of the school’s success.

 Leaders have used relevant research effectively, for example to identify the best ways to revisit learning to make sure that pupils remember it in the long term.

 Leaders have established an excellent reading culture at the school.

 Leaders have also ensured that lessons fully engage pupils’ interest.

 Partly as a result of this engagement with the curriculum, pupils’ attitudes to learning are excellent. From the early years onwards, they listen carefully, and display commendable concentration.

 The school’s records show teaching across the school is highly effective, and inspection evidence confirmed this. Teachers consistently introduce pupils to demanding and stimulating ideas.

 Teachers ask probing questions to encourage pupils to think more deeply and refine their initial answers. Learning is expertly paced and the most able pupils are presented with a suitable level of challenge.

 The school is increasingly effective at overcoming disadvantaged pupils’ barriers to learning.

 Pupils’ workbooks and the learning that was observed during the inspection showed that current pupils are making consistently strong progress in a range of subjects, including English and mathematics.

 The school has a very strong culture of safeguarding.