Sturminster Marshall First School

Grow, Achieve, Inspire, Nurture. SMFS where learning is an adventure.

Ofsted Report

Ofsted Inspection December 2022

On the 30th November and the 1st of December, we received our first Ofsted inspection in 15 years. As you will read in the below Ofsted Inspection Report, the school was judged to be ‘Good’ in three of the five areas of evaluation and ‘Requires Improvement’ in two. Unfortunately, if any area of evaluation is judged to be ‘Requires Improvement’, even if all other areas are ‘Good’, the overall effectiveness of a school is judged as being ‘Requires Improvement’. We feel it is important to note that a school that is judged to be Requires Improvement is not a failing school and would have been classed as ‘satisfactory’ under the previous framework.

Whilst it is disappointing to have received this overall judgement, the report has drawn attention to some of our strengths stating that “Pupils enjoy coming to school. They form positive relationships with adults. Pupils understand what it means to be a good friend. They enjoy taking on responsibilities such as being members of the school council and as play leaders. Pupils appreciate their voices being heard.”

The report also supports the rapid pace of change instigated by the school and Mrs Charman, saying that “the headteacher has worked systematically and with determination”. The report also agreed with the school’s decision to prioritise rapid improvements in the core subjects (literacy, mathematics and science). The significant positive changes already made by the leadership and staff was commented on, whilst also acknowledging that improvements in the ‘wider curriculum’ (this means subjects other than literacy, science and mathematics) are not yet at the same stage.

The Ofsted report not only identifies areas that require improvement, but also highlights where the school is good – a school to which parents in our community are overwhelmingly happy to send their children and children talk “extremely positively” and are “happy to come to school”. Parents commented on the supportive staff and the positive changes that have been brought about by Mrs Charman and this support was greatly appreciated.

Ofsted stated that our school “is a calm and purposeful place to learn” and that “there is mutual respect for all”. During the verbal post-inspection debrief, the lead Ofsted inspector told governors that our “headteacher has clear ambition and expectations for the school; has taken difficult decisions and should be commended”.

The school remains committed to delivering the best education for the children of our community. The staff feel supported by Mrs Charman and in turn, Mrs Charman has the full support of the governing body. Between now and the next Ofsted inspection, typically within 18 months, the school will continue to follow its improvement plan to guide the development of the agreed priorities.

We feel that the process of the inspection overall was an extremely positive one and our children only stand to benefit from our continued focus on embedding our wider curriculum.

Full Ofsted report: December 2022 Ofsted Report

Government Performance Tables: Compare School Performance Service