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Yaxham school's Ofsted triumph

PUBLISHED: 17:15 06 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:09 07 July 2010

Teachers and pupils at a small mid-Norfolk school are celebrating after receiving a good Ofsted report.

In particular inspectors praised Yaxham Primary School's early years foundation stage which was graded as "outstanding.

Teachers and pupils at a small mid-Norfolk school are celebrating after receiving a good Ofsted report.

In particular inspectors praised Yaxham Primary School's early years foundation stage which was graded as “outstanding.”

The report that followed the inspection in February said: “Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage make a flying start to their education. Inspirational teaching ensures they make outstanding progress across all areas of the curriculum.”

Clare Barlow, who teaches at the early years foundation stage, said: “We are proud of what we have all achieved and delighted that it has been reflected in an outstanding mark by Ofsted. Happily, our children just love learning!”

Inspectors graded the overall effectiveness of the school as “good.”

The report said: “This is a good school that is popular within the local area. It is well led and managed and staff work together extremely well to ensure that each pupil's needs are met.”

It also said: “Parents are unanimous in their praise for the care the school takes of their children and the support they receive.”

The report said to improve further the school should teach pupils more about the cultural and ethnic diversity within the UK, encourage the children to take more responsibility for the planning and evaluating of their learning, and help the older children improve their handwriting.

Headteacher Sandra Nightingale said: “We were very pleased with this superb report, which is a credit to our excellent teaching staff and wonderful children. We are not complacent, though, and where the inspector has suggested areas for improvement, we will be working hard over the next year to do better!”

Yaxham Primary School's youngest pupils have been reaping the benefits of al fresco education.

Since class one's outdoor classroom was opened a year ago, the children have been outside in all weathers, learning across all areas of the curriculum.

Class teacher Clare Barlow believes the outdoor classroom has contributed significantly to the school's achievement of an outstanding mark from Ofsted for its early years foundation stage.

She said: “Being outdoors stimulates and excites children in a different way from indoor learning. Our pupils love being free to explore and as they become more relaxed, so they are more open to learning.”

Class one pupils (including reception and year one children) have free access to outdoors all the time, and thanks to the waterproof suits provided for each child, they have been outside in all weathers.

Some of the activities they have been involved in include painting the snow, making shelters from the sun and growing organic vegetables to sell at the school's annual fete.

The outdoor classroom has hard areas for sand, water and construction activities, and a covered decking area where children can sit for literacy and numeracy activities or role play.

A willow tunnel and roadways encourage imaginative play while a grassed area is the base for outdoor picnics, camping and story time.

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