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“A vibrant place of learning”: glowing Ofsted report for Rickley Park Primary School as it remains a Good school

Rickley Park Primary School, part of the Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL) multi-academy trust, “continues to be a Good school” following the first routine Ofsted inspection the school has received since the pandemic began.

In its newly-published report, Ofsted described the 465-pupil school in Bletchley as a “vibrant place of learning”, how leaders “make the well-being and safety of pupils their top priority” and are “very ambitious for the pupils and set high expectations for learning”, and that children “thrive in this happy and caring school”.

Other comments in the report, which followed a two-day visit by an inspector, include:

  • Pupils behave well in lessons and during playtimes. They are friendly and kind to each other. They feel safe in school and well supported by adults.
  • Leaders give a childhood pledge to each pupil through a ‘passport to success’ scheme. This allows pupils to access a wide range of activities throughout their time at the school.
  • Staff are passionate about their pupils’ learning. There are many exciting activities in the curriculum to motivate and capture pupils’ thirst for learning.
  • Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities are supported very effectively. Staff have a clear understanding of their needs. Adults adapt learning precisely so that pupils can access the same curriculum as their peers.
  • Staff have positive relationships with pupils. They listen well when pupils have worries or concerns.
  • Those in positions of governance are highly ambitious for the school. They hold leaders to account well.
  • Staff appreciate working in a highly supportive team led by effective school leaders. They appreciate the care leaders have taken to manage their workload and support their well-being.

Rickley Park Primary School was originally judged to be Good in December 2016. The purpose of the latest visit, known as a section 8 inspection, was to confirm that the school remains Good – any evidence that the school should receive a higher or lower grade would have seen it referred to a full section 5 inspection.

During the inspection, the inspector met senior leaders, school leaders and core academy staff as well as members of the school’s local governing body and IFtL’s Board of Trustees. Deep dives in reading, mathematics and history were conducted with subject leaders, teachers and pupils, and responses to Ofsted’s Parent View, as well as online questionnaires for staff and children, were also evaluated. The effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements in the school was also scrutinised as part of the visit.

“Our aim at Rickley Park is to install core learning values into the children that will prepare them for the wider world and enable them to achieve their individual dreams and aspirations,” said Nicole Bramwell, who was appointed Head of School in January 2020. “We recognise that children get one shot at primary school and whilst they are in our care we need to make every moment count. The Ofsted report identifies how we support whole child development, through the quality of education and the wide range of enrichment opportunities we provide, to enable pupils to become the most rounded individuals they can be. As the report says, we have ‘overhauled’ the curriculum, and that has gathered pace over the past 18 months. To continue to be a Good school given the journey we have all been on, but one which strives for even better, is fantastic. I am so proud of everyone.”

Gemma Maldar, Chair of Governors at Rickley Park Primary School, said: “I am delighted with the Ofsted report, which is extremely positive both in its entirety and in specific comments. From the observations that leaders prioritise developing pupils’ love of reading and want the school’s curriculum to be even more ambitious and relevant to the children, to how children have many opportunities to develop social and emotional skills and appreciate the additional opportunities staff provide, this is a really strong reflection on the school. I would like to thank all our wonderful staff, as well as my fellow governors whose contribution is acknowledged by Ofsted, including for their understanding the school’s strengths and areas for development and making sure procedures to recruit staff are safe.”

Sarah Bennett, CEO of IFtL, said: “Rickley Park Primary School is absolutely committed to its positive impact on all pupils and I am very proud to see this celebrated in this report. The passion of everyone in this school, as recognised by Ofsted, not only to share their love of learning in an exciting and engaging way that develops each pupil’s own love of learning but also to support every child and each other in this journey is evident. Congratulations from across the IFtL family of schools to everyone in the Rickley Park school and community on your continued success.”

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