Chirton Primary School has been given a boost in its campaign to remain open, with a report from education watchdog Ofsted grading them “good with outstanding features”.
The school, with just 19 pupils on the roll, making it one of the smallest in Wiltshire, survived a threat of closure following a determined campaign by the governing body, staff, parents, children and villagers.
As a result, Lionel Grundy, the Wiltshire Council cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, announced in September that the school was no longer under threat of closure.
The report, by schools’ inspector Jane Neech, said: “The new headteacher (Sue Chivers) has injected energy and drive into the school and has quickly shown a clear determination to build on the school’s successes since the last inspection.
“The school community has confidence in the way she is developing the quality of the provision.”
She added: “The governing body has stepped up to the mark during the period of uncertainty about the school’s future. Governors reported that the threat of closure had been a wake-up call.”
The report grades the school as ‘good’, the second highest category, on three out of four criteria. On the behaviour and safety of children, though, it is ‘outstanding’, the highest grading.
The report said: “Nearly everyone thinks the pupils’ behaviour is excellent. The inspector agreed. She found that behaviour in lessons and at playtimes and lunchtimes was consistently exemplary. A typical feature is the way older pupils look after younger ones, as when arranging playtime games and guiding younger pupils across the road to the school hall for lunch and cooking activities.”
Mrs Chivers said: “I am pleased the inspector recognised the hard work achieved by everyone and the progress the school has made.
“It is a pleasure to be headteacher here. The parents are supportive of the school, and there is a real family atmosphere.
“I am confident the school will be in a position to achieve outstanding at its next inspection.”
Nicky Wragg, chairman of governors, said: “It illustrates what an excellent school Chirton is. We have an exciting future.”
Staff, pupils and governors this week paid tribute to foundation school governor Louise Woolley, who is standing down after more than 20 years.