St Laurence in Thanet Junior Academy gains Ofsted praise for ‘outstanding’ pupil development

St Laurence headteacher Headteacher Sarah Graham and children celebrate the Ofsted grading

A Ramsgate junior school has been judged “outstanding” for its pupils’ personal development and “good” in all other areas.

Ofsted inspectors visited St Laurence in Thanet Church of England Junior Academy last month. The school, whose pupils are aged seven to 11, was judged “good” in all areas in 2018 and retains its overall good grading following the latest inspection.

Inspectors said that since a new leadership team took over, the school has been on a “rapidly improving trajectory”, with “much achieved in a relatively short period of time”.

In their report, which has just been published, the inspectors found the school’s governors and the academy trust that the school is part of – Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust – have played a “significant [role] in supporting leaders at all levels to improve the school.”

“Large-scale changes in the way mathematics is taught and how pupils who struggle to read are supported are proving effective,” the inspectors said. “The significance of this is clear to see … it is impacting positively on the wider curriculum and helping to build the confidence and resilience of pupils, the large majority of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

The inspectors described pupils’ personal development as strong, adding: “This does not happen by happy coincidence. Much of this work is based on the reality of pupils’ everyday lives and mitigates the challenges they face outside of school.”

The inspectors had some suggestions of how the school could further improve, including by continuing to raise expectations of what pupils can achieve and by continuing to reduce absence rates.

Headteacher Sarah Graham said: “St Laurence in Thanet offers a supportive, inclusive, nurturing and inspiring learning environment where children are encouraged through an aspirational and engaging curriculum to develop their knowledge, skills and character. It’s a privilege to work here.”

Annie Wiles, Chief Executive Officer of Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, said the school’s improvement was “down to the hard work, enthusiasm and experience of its inspirational team.”