Pupils celebrate recognised improvements

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AT one time the primary school in Usher Street, Bradford, had been in special measures longer than any other and was labelled one of the worst in the country.

Now parents and pupils are celebrating being part of a school which has just been rated as good by Ofsted inspectors.

Despite a long history of being found to be failing – having been in special measures since 2003, Usher Street Primary was saved from closure in 2007 after a parent-led campaign to keep it going.

It later merged with Bowling Park Primary to run as one school based on two sites. Both school sites take on pupils from reception to year six, meaning although it is one school it serves as a local primary for two neighbouring communities.

Its new Ofsted report has rated it as good in all four key inspection areas: achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management of the school.

Inspectors say teaching is good and that the head teacher is an “inspirational leader” who has driven significant improvements since Bowling Park’s last Ofsted when it was rated as being satisfactory under the schools watchdog’s previous inspection regime.

Headteacher Stuart Herrington said: “This good report is the result of optimism, determination and thousands of hours of hard work from children, staff and the community.”

He said the school had overcome significant challenges including having one of the highest levels of pupil mobility in the region.

About 20 per cent of the pupils are completely new to English, some from a Czech or Slovak Roma background.

In total, more than three-quarters of pupils have English as an additional language.

More than 40 per cent of the children in the school are in receipt of free school meals. Mr Herrington said that changing the mindset of the school community and improving attendance had been key to its success.

“The old Bowling Park school had issues too. Attendance there was 87 per cent in 2008 and or attendance now is more than 95 per cent.”

He said the Ofsted report reflected the quality of the teacher’s work in the classroom.

Inspectors found pupils “particularly enjoyed lessons where there were independent activities and learning was fun.”