'Small' Sneyd Green school with a 'big heart' impresses inspectors

Inspectors have been left impressed with a 'small' Potteries primary school that boasts a 'big heart'. And the recent inspection at Sneyd Green's Holden Lane Primary School has seen it maintain its 'good' Ofsted rating.

The two-day 'ungraded inspection' was the first at the Ralph Drive school in almost six years. Holden Lane has been rated 'good' since 2013. An ungraded inspection is carried out when Ofsted has previously judged a school to be good and normally take place once every four years to confirm that the rating remains the same.

The Ofsted report, published on April 22, states: "Holden Lane is a small school with a big heart. Parents, staff and pupils are united in the view that this school is a ‘special place to belong’. Strong relationships contribute to why pupils report feeling safe and happy at school. Pupils feel that their voice really matters and that those who care for them will always be there in their time of need.

"Pupils perform well in their learning, particularly in mathematics and reading. Their attitudes to their learning are highly positive and they give their best to all they do. Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary. Disruption to learning is rare and those that require support receive this from highly skilled members of staff who understand them well.

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"Pupils demonstrate exceptional character. They are resilient to setbacks and develop independence when learning. The school is a place where pupils develop leadership skills. Many are provided the opportunity to hold important positions of responsibility. Well-being ambassadors, prefects and sports leaders are just a few of the roles that pupils hold.

"They demonstrate high ambition for their futures and many feel that the opportunities provided to them develop their talents and interests."

It adds: "Leaders are inspirational and ensure that key decisions always place the pupils at the heart of what is being done. They know their community exceptionally well and lead in a calm and consistent manner, which creates a calm and purposeful ethos. Leaders have built a dedicated team of staff who are committed to doing their best for the community and who constantly strive to improve what they do.

"Parents speak highly of how well cared for their children are and the progress they make. The school ensures that staff are well trained to meet the needs of pupils. A coaching model makes sure that everyone has the opportunity to improve. Staff feel well supported.

"The outcomes that pupils achieve reflect the high-quality provision in place. There have been recent developments to the curriculum in some subject areas. The school makes certain that the intended learning sequences now build pupils’ knowledge in a more progressive way. However, in some subjects, some pupils cannot recall the key knowledge and skills needed for future learning.

"The wider development of pupils is exceptional. Pupils enjoy and benefit from rich opportunities to do things that they may not otherwise do. For example, trips to Manchester on public transport to learn how to cook teach them life skills to develop their independence. One pupil summed up the wider view that they attend a ’happy school, which feels like a family’."

Headteacher Clare Thomas told Stoke-on-Trent Live: "We are incredibly proud of our wonderful children, the support of our families and the dedication and commitment of our staff and governors. At Holden Lane, we believe that every child is equally special and we are absolutely delighted that this is reflected in the report."

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