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Gulval Primary School rated 'good' in latest Ofsted

It was 'inadequate' 4 years ago, but new Principal 'has created an inclusive school where expectations are high', say inspectors

Posted by Hannah Vickers | July 14, 2017 | School life

Gulval School, an Adventure Learning Academy Trust (ALAT) school, in Gulval, Penzance, has been awarded a ‘good’ Ofsted rating with ‘outstanding’ attributes just four years after being judged ‘inadequate’ and placed in special measures by the Department for Education. Ofsted inspectors commented that since the appointment of new Principal, Paul Baker, there has been a renewed faith in the school and that as a result of rigorous school improvement the quality of teaching, learning and assessment has rapidly improved. Inspectors stated that “the Principal’s vision and moral purpose has created an inclusive school where expectations are high”.

Factors contributing to the school’s transformation include a spotlight on progress in Maths and English and a focus on improvement across the entire breadth of the curriculum, with opportunities for children to get involved in events such as ‘expedition week’ which saw over 80 pupils walk 12 miles to raise money for the school. Community events such as popular ‘Big Dig Days’ also give a chance for parents and other members of the community to get involved in the life of the school. Ofsted commented that “the varied and diverse curriculum offers pupils many exciting opportunities to learn. The use of the outdoors is a particular strength”.

Results at the school have also risen since its conversion to an academy, with Gulval celebrating its best ever results in 2015. In 2016 the school enjoyed outstanding results for a second year running, sitting comfortably in the top 5% of all schools nationally for reading and writing and the top 25% for Maths. Ofsted made reference to the dedicated staff who “share the principal’s passion and high expectations” stating that “teachers go to great lengths to make learning accessible and fun for the pupils”.

Following the inspection, Ofsted representatives commented that “the school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding” and that “Pupils enter the school at the beginning of the day with broad smiling faces. Lessons are typically a hive of buzz and excitement. There is an air of harmony and happiness as pupils play together in the vibrant and enriched environment.”  

Inspectors also commented on the outstanding progress in the behaviour of pupils, noting that: “Pupils have a powerful voice in this school. They are outstanding ambassadors for the school. Their eyes light up as they speak with immense pride and genuine enthusiasm about their school. They truly live out the school’s values of ‘Respect yourself, respect one another and respect the environment’.

This report demonstrates that, by ensuring a real breadth of curriculum and focusing on the whole child, setting high expectations and driving an agenda of positivity with a ‘can do’ attitude, anything is possible - Paul Baker, Principal at Gulval School

Paul Baker, Principal at Gulval School, said, “I am absolutely delighted to see the hard work and dedication committed by my staff team formally recognised. This report demonstrates that, by ensuring a real breadth of curriculum and focusing on the whole child, setting high expectations and driving an agenda of positivity with a ‘can do’ attitude, anything is possible. Through this, we have been able to achieve this success for our community – a message we strive to instil in our pupils every day”.  

Mary McKeeman, Chief Executive Officer at Adventure Learning Academy Trust commented, “This is an excellent result for Gulval School and really reflects the hard work put in by staff at the school as well as the support of the regional team at ALAT. I would like to congratulate everyone at the school, including the pupils on this excellent result!” 

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