School reclaims good Ofsted rating after seven years

Reporter: Charlotte Hall, Local Democracy Reporter
Date published: 30 May 2024

A primary school in Oldham has turned itself around after it was first told by Ofsted that teaching was ‘not good enough’ and kids’ attainments were ‘hampered’ by a poor curriculum almost seven years ago.

St Hilda’s CofE Primary has seen a ‘shift’ and ‘improved’ outcomes for pupils, a report published this month found. 

Ofsted inspector David Lobodzinski and colleagues gave the school a ‘good’ rating.

They said the school had placed ‘a strong focus on bringing about the required changes’ since two inspections in 2017 and 2020 found the school ‘required improvement’. 

The three to 11-year-old pupils at the school in Coldhurst now feel “proud to be part of the school’s community” and are ‘happy’, ‘settled’ and ‘ambitious’. 

The report noted: “This shift has improved pupils’ own aspirations for their achievement and for their future lives.

"For example, pupils aspire to become teachers, surgeons, scientists and police officers.” 

The finding is significant in the Coldhurst area, which has a lower employment rate than the Oldham average and a lower GCSE attainment rate than both the local and national averages.

Ofsted also praised the ‘variety of rich experiences’ available to pupils – from musical concerts to visits to the local council chambers.

The school also has a ‘well-stocked library’ and uses reading challenges and reading rewards to nudge pupils into reading widely. 

While the transformation can be seen in everything from pupil attendance to staff satisfaction, the report noted that there are some areas where the improvements have not yet been felt despite the efforts. 

Lobodzinski and his colleagues wrote: “While these changes have been successful, published data belies the strengths of the school.

"In 2023, pupils’ attainment in some subjects was significantly below national averages. 

“A considerable number of pupils joined the school at various times in each key stage and speak English as an additional language.

"Nonetheless, most current pupils are achieving well.”

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