High praise for Freshwaters by Ofsted

News / Tue 2nd Jun 2015 at 12:23pm

A HARLOW primary school once considered inadequate is celebrating being graded as Good by Ofsted.
Freshwaters Primary Academy, in School Lane, Harlow, received a two-day visit by inspectors last month.

The report, graded the school as good in all categories.

The school joined the Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust in September 2013 and an independent report commissioned by the Trust found the school to be inadequate.

Head of school, Marios Solomonides, who was appointed acting headteacher in January 2014 before being promoted, is described as a “dynamic and highly motivated leader” in the new report. He said: “When I began leading Freshwaters and put together my first report for the local advisory board, I could not bring myself to write down that we were inadequate as I did not want anyone to feel there was no hope. But, the school was inadequate; our teaching and achievements were just not good enough and children were not making enough progress.

“My most recent report considered everything to be good; achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety, leadership and management and our early years provision. Ofsted agrees.”
Ofsted inspectors praised pupils for behaving “exceptionally well” and having “outstanding attitudes”.

The biggest change at Freshwaters, Mr Solomonides said, is everyone at the school now has more freedom to be creative.

He said: “I feel teachers, parents and children should be able to make decisions which affect them. The rule is, if it is going to benefit the school, then do it. I do not need to be notified of every last decision. As a result, people come up with all sorts of wonderful ideas, solutions and improvements.

“We have worked hard to develop our staff, given them a voice and encouraged them to develop themselves professionally and to take ownership of that. We now have pupils represented through a junior leadership team and we see far more parents coming into school; we used to go a whole week between visits from parents, but we opened up our reception to make school more welcoming for our community.

“Ofsted saw we all have a shared vision and that we all know exactly what we are here for.

“I am very proud. We all feel even more motivated now – positivity breeds positivity.”
Helena Mills, head of BMAT schools, said: “We are very lucky to have a leader like Marios in our family of schools. His passion for the children to be successful learners and ambitious is infectious and is shared by all of us.

“Freshwaters is a special place to be for children.”

Freshwaters achieved its best ever SATs results last year, with 79% of pupils reaching the expected level four in Year 6.


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