Cheers as Calne school gains good rating

This Is Wiltshire: Headteacher Andrew Marsh-Ballard and pupils celebrate their Ofsted success Headteacher Andrew Marsh-Ballard and pupils celebrate their Ofsted success

Ofsted inspectors praised the enthusiasm of staff at Priestley School in Calne as it achieved a good rating for the second time in three years.

The school, in Prince Charles Drive, has about 180 pupils on its roll and received the report after inspector Mark Anderson visited to observe 11 lessons in November.

The report said although the majority of pupils join the school with skills and knowledge below the levels typical for their age, they make good progress.

It said pupils’ attainment is well above national levels in Year 6, preparing them well for secondary school, and marking is thorough and helps pupils to improve.

The report said: “Good teaching enables pupils with a wide range of abilities to make good progress. Teachers make sure that most lessons are lively, interesting and interactive.

“Relationships between teachers and pupils are a genuine strength at Priestley. There is a strong commitment to developing every pupil’s self-esteem and confidence.

“The staff are willing to go the extra mile. This was demonstrated during the recent residential trip for Years 5 and 6 when staff enthusiastically joined in with their pupils’ high-wire experiences.”

Headteacher Andrew Marsh-Ballard, who has been at the school since 2005, said the report made the school’s ‘Priestley and Proud’ motto particularly poignant.

He said: “As a team we work hard to try and give the kids the best possible education as we can so it’s nice to get that recognition of the effort everyone has put in.

“We were good last time but with the new framework for Ofsted coming in there’s been a number of schools that were good or outstanding that are no longer good or outstanding.

“We have read the fact that we’re good again as the fact that we’re still progressing.”

The report also highlighted areas for improvement, noting that pupil attendance and levels in writing at the end of Key Stage 1 have been below the national average in recent years.

Mr Marsh-Ballard said although pupil attendance was down to parents, teachers worked hard to make sure the school was a welcoming place to come and to encourage a good turnout.

He said: “We were very lucky in the fact that the things Ofsted had given us to work on were the things we had already identified.

“We want to carry on improving the attainment in writing at the end of Key Stage 1.”

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