Samuel Barlow Primary Academy in Clipstone, has gone from an Ofsted rating of ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’, following a full inspection in January 2022.

Ofsted found the academy to be ‘good’ in all areas – a first in the history of the primary school – after undertaking a section 5 inspection. The two-day visit looked at the overall effectiveness of the school, including the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, as well as leadership and management.

In its report, published on 21 February, the academy was praised for wanting ‘every pupil to do well’ and for being ‘ambitious’ for all children. Inspectors also highlighted that children ‘enjoy coming to Samuel Barlow Primary Academy,’ and that they are ’aspirational for their futures.’

Leaders were recognised for the curriculum being ‘broad and well-organised,’ and subject leaders were commended for being ‘experts in their area of responsibility.’

The report touched on how ‘personal development is high on leaders’ agenda’, as well as how children have ‘opportunities to express their kindness’ and build characteristics such as ‘resilience, respect and teamwork,’ all attributes that prepare a child for the future.

Despite the pandemic, Ofsted found that ‘leaders have worked tirelessly to continue to improve the school’ and that ‘pupils have not missed any important learning’.

Executive principal, Lucy Spacey, said: “We are immensely proud of what has been achieved at Samuel Barlow Primary. The leadership team and staff have worked together with purpose to improve the quality of education for the children of Clipstone, and we are delighted this has been recognised by Ofsted. Together, we are committed to ensuring that Samuel Barlow continues to flourish and fulfil our vision of inspiring children, raising aspirations and creating brighter tomorrows.”

Cat Thornton, chief education officer for Diverse Academies added: “This is a significant moment in the school’s history and reflects the whole team approach we have taken. It is truly wonderful to see how confident the children are in their learning and, whatever their starting point, we are here to nurture their thirst for knowledge. Our children can lift their heads up high and celebrate all that they can achieve.”

With the full support of Nottinghamshire County Council educational team, Samuel Barlow converted to academy status and joined Diverse Academies Trust in 2017. Cat Thornton added: “We have been able to provide additional capacity and expertise to drive change, including the development of a broad and rich curriculum, enhanced training to enable teachers to progress at pace and specialists in early years education. We have continued to work with the local authority, including educational psychologists, to ensure the children get access to the best possible support from the start.”

David Cotton, chief executive officer for Diverse Academies Trust said: “Over the last two years we have made an investment of almost £1.3m in the academy, including remodelling and refurbishing learning spaces, and providing new equipment to enhance curriculum delivery. With more developments planned, we believe the academy will continue to go from strength-to-strength.

“Samuel Barlow is a very special and inclusive place to learn, with a strong and united staff team who strive to make a difference in the community they serve. Families can be confident that their children will receive a high-quality education, so they can get off to flying start in life and see a world of opportunities ahead of them.”

The praise comes only a month after Bracken Lane Primary Academy and Thrumpton Primary Academy, both in Retford, Nottinghamshire, were given glowing Ofsted reports.

Read the report in full here:

Samuel Barlow Primary Academy – Ofsted report – January 2022