Willow Primary School in Doncaster is given 'Good' rating by Ofsted after being put in special measures

Willow Primary school has received a glowing Ofsted report, after a period of significant improvement and change.
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In November 2016, inspectors placed the previous school into Special Measures and since then leaders have improved every aspect of the school.

The report said: “This is a school where staff, leaders and pupils live the school values. They ASPIRE to be the best they can be every day."

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Inspectors acknowledged the well-directed efforts of the academy since joining Exceed Learning Partnership.

All smiles at Willow Primary SchoolAll smiles at Willow Primary School
All smiles at Willow Primary School

They stated ‘Leaders at all levels have a detailed and clear picture of the strengths of the school and the areas to develop. There is a consistent and clear moral purpose when leaders speak about the school.

The school’s Principal, Davina Sumner, praised the work done by staff and pupils, adding that the school had been on a “massive journey” since the “special measures” rating in 2016. In 2017, the former school, Willow Academy, was one of the schools re-brokered from Wakefield City Academies Trust to Inspiring Futures, a small local academy trust.

More recently, it joined Exceed Learning Partnership, a family of eight schools in Doncaster.

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Throughout this time of change, leaders and governors have maintained their focus on the school reaching its potential and following their motto to ‘Believe, Aspire, Achieve’.

Beryce Nixon, CEO of Exceed Learning PartnershipBeryce Nixon, CEO of Exceed Learning Partnership
Beryce Nixon, CEO of Exceed Learning Partnership

Following the inspection in October, the report, said: “The school has undergone significant changes in the recent past. The changes leaders have made are making a significant and positive difference to the lives of pupils.”

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The school’s engaging and relevant curriculum and opportunities to develop pupils’ character education was highlighted as a strength of the school. Ofsted said that “Leaders have created an ambitious, well-structured and sophisticated plan for pupils’ personal development. Pupils have extensive opportunities for leadership.”

It added that movement around the school was “calm and orderly”.

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The report states: “Staff make sure that pupils follow clear routines as they walk around school, such as ‘wonderful walking’ and ‘legendary lining up’. There is an atmosphere of calm and consideration throughout school.

Beryce Nixon, CEO of Exceed Learning Partnership said “We are immensely proud of the team at Willow Primary School.

"The inspection outcome is a well-deserved reflection of their sustained efforts and unwavering commitment to the whole school community. There has been an innovative approach to curriculum design which has developed high aspirations for all pupils.”

Chair of Governors, Ellie Churchward said “The school has recently received significant investment in resources and the buildings with a new roof, heating and IT systems, all of which has provided the children and staff with the learning environment to succeed. The real transformation has been in the culture, ethos, sense of community and richness of experience we offer the children.”

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Mrs Sumner added: “Our rich and diverse curriculum offers high quality teaching across all subject areas and pupils are excited about their learning. These include ‘Willow’s Fantastic Fifty’ opportunities, Life Skills Challenges and Careers Education. Reading is at the heart of the school’s curriculum which has led to a love of literature and high academic standards for the pupils. Our whole community - leaders, staff, families and pupils have worked together to create a school which we’re proud of and we are thrilled that Ofsted recognised that.”

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