‘A school transformed’ – that’s how Ofsted inspectors have described Wilton CE Primary School near Salisbury, after visiting the school in November.
The school, led by headteacher Richard Boase, has seen significant change since joining the Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust in 2018 and was praised by inspectors for the high aspirations and expectations staff have for the children.
In delivering a verdict of ‘Good’, the inspection report said: “Leaders have transformed the school since joining the trust. Staff morale is high and they share the same ambitious vision. Leaders have high expectations of pupils and staff.”
In recognising the values the school holds, the inspectors said: “Pupils, regardless of their background, flourish at Wilton. The Christian ethos of courage, kindness, love, perseverance and respect runs like a stick of rock through the school.
“Parents speak highly of Wilton and its staff. They appreciate the many changes that leaders have made. One comment, typical of many, said, ‘The school have been incredibly supportive in building my child’s emotional well-being and helping with their learning’.”
There was also praise for the way staff recognise strengths and areas for development in pupils and ‘work quickly’ if the high standards expected are not met.
The inspectors noted that pupils are happy at Wilton CE Primary School, stressing that the behaviour policy works very effectively.
“Pupils feel safe and happy. Leaders have ensured the behaviour policy, ‘The Wilton Way’, is clear and understood by staff and pupils. As a result, pupils behave well in class and at social times,” the report said. “Pupils show kindness and tolerance towards each other.”
The academic side of school was also a strength, with effective teaching beginning with the youngest pupils.
The report said: “Children in the early years learn to read from the moment they start school. Staff establish clear rules and routines. This means children are engaged and ready to learn.”
● Leaders have ensured that all staff are trained in the teaching of phonics. They have clear systems for identifying pupils who fall behind in reading.
● Teachers read regularly to pupils from a carefully planned selection of books. This means that pupils are exposed to a wide variety of themes and genres over time.
● Pupils say these sessions develop their own love of reading. Some say it has inspired them to read more of particular authors.
● In mathematics, teachers ask pupils routinely what they have learned in the past. This ensures that they identify gaps in knowledge swiftly.
● Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) experience the same broad and balanced curriculum as their peers. They enjoy opportunities beyond the classroom to develop their character, such as residentials and productions.
The inspectors added that there is a ‘strong culture’ of safeguarding at the school.
Headteacher, Mr Boase, said: “This fantastic report is the culmination of months and years of effort by the staff team here, working closely with families and the local community, and our school is one where everyone enjoys a collective sense of pride.
“We know our pupils both enjoy school life, thrive and are happy and this was clearly recognised by the inspectors.
“We try to give the very best for all pupils – those joining us in reception right up to those leaving us each summer for the next part of their education journey.”
“Of course, we will never stand still and see this as a stepping stone to even greater things in the years to come.”
Trust chief executive, Mark Lacey, said: “We are so proud of everyone at Wilton. Since becoming part of our Trust in 2018, the staff team have worked tirelessly to make huge improvements which have been noted in this report.
“It is especially pleasing that the ethos of the school is so evident and this will serve them in good stead as they move forward.”