If schools were football teams, Hackthorn Church of England Primary would be in the premier league, thanks to its latest Ofsted report.
The small village school, which has just 60 pupils on the register, has chalked up its third consecutive ‘Outstanding in all areas rating from the inspectorate.
Achieving outstanding is one thing, but maintaining that standard over time puts the school in a different league altogether.
To be judged outstanding in three consecutive inspections is a very rare achievement – it is believed this has only been matched by a tiny handful of primary schools across the entire country.
“We are very proud of these achievements and always welcome the visit of inspection teams as their findings confirm our thoughts about the school and further strengthen our resolve to ‘keep on doing what we do well’ and to continue on our visionary journey,” said headteacher Mel Oyston.
But Mr Oyston says the secret of the school’s success isn’t just down to him.
“It’s because everyone from the most senior staff member to the most junior pupil knows what they are doing and why they are doing it,” he added.
“The whole school is particularly proud of the achievement because the guidelines which govern the ways in which schools are assessed have been stiffened since the school’s first ‘outstanding’ report was published in 2005, and it is now more difficult to achieve the grade.
Since the new, more rigorous framework was introduced this year, it is expected fewer than five percent of schools across the country will now achieve this judgment.
And this is what makes the record of three in a row even better.
The report, released from Ofsted last week, acknowledges the school’s success is not down to the work of any one person but everyone at Hackthorn is involved in achieving the high standards.
Special mention is given to the contribution of all the teachers and high quality teaching assistants, the efficient administrative staff and the supportive parents, dedicated governors and, of course, the pupils.
During the inspection, the inspector observed seven lessons, with all staff responsible for teaching seen.
“An abiding memory for governors and staff was when the inspector stood in the middle of a classroom, looked around at the children working in such a highly motivated way and just said: “Amazing,” added Mr Oyston.
The inspector also listened to pupils read in class and watched as older pupils support younger ones with their reading.
Oftsed reports always contain actions required to help schools improve further - even ones such as Hackthorn with their outstanding hat-trick.
And on this occasion the report has only one recommendation and that is to put into practice plans to include all assessment information for Reception children in the school’s electronic tracking system, so all teachers can clearly see pupils’ progress from their starting points.
Following the report, the school was contacted by the regional director of Ofsted to express their “particular joy” at reading the report which made clear “pupils have extraordinarily positive attitudes to their learning”, and are “hugely motivated” by the school’s “ethos of such high expectations”.
“I rarely read such a report,” added the regional director.