Standards rising at Sheffield school according to inspectors

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Standards are rising at an improving Sheffield infant school which has been rated ‘good’ in all areas by visiting inspectors.

Strong leadership by new staff has turned things round at Greenlands Nursery Infants at Darnall, which on its last check up was found to be needing improvement.

Most pupils at the school are from a wide range of ethnic minority backgrounds, with the proportion speaking English as an additional language well above average.

But by the time children were ready to move to their next school they were all making good progress in reading, writing and maths - including disadvantaged pupils.

Recently appointed executive headteacher Lesley Dolben and her senior team had successfully tackled issues identified in the previous inspection, and they were clear where future improvements were needed.

Governors kept a careful watch on the school’s work and checked whether it was meeting the agreed high expectations, inspectors found.

Inspectors said the pupils’ behaviour was good, they were kind and cared for each other and understood they were at school to try their best and do well.

A relentless drive to improve the quality of teaching had been effective and it was now ‘good’ with staff planning enjoyable lessons, making pupils keen to learn.

Teachers and support staff had also been successful in helping the children improve their speaking and listening skills, which were now ‘good’.

The youngest pupils were making a good start to school life thanks to staff who were highly experienced and well trained.

Inspectors say a key feature of the school is its strong and effective links with the community, with local leaders determined to see Greenlands do well and provide high standards of education.

But moves to improve progress made by the most able pupils were not yet consistently in place, and there was potential for these children to achieve even more highly.

Mrs Dolben said she was absolutely thrilled that Ofsted had recognised the rapid improvements made since last year, and thanked her team for their incredibly hard work.

“We are close to being judged outstanding with only two areas to focus on, but one of those is not in our gift - it is an issue for some of our parents,” she said.

While overall attendance was rising, too many pupils arrived late and missed the start of lessons, inspectors found.

Mrs Dolben said a 20 minute family learning session had been introduced before the start of lessons at 9am, but some children didn’t attend.

“It provides the ideal start to a school day and so we are urging parents to engage with us,” she added.