County Upper School, Bury St Edmunds

'An absolutely first rate school' was just one of the top phrases used by Ofsted to describe an upper school in Bury St Edmunds.

County Upper School has been rated as 'outstanding' in the third assessment in a row following two previous inspections in 1998 and 2003.

This has now placed it in the top four in the East of England – and the only school in Essex, Norfolk or Suffolk to have achieved such a long run of outstanding marks.

The Ofsted inspection, which took place in February, highlights how students feel safe, above average achievements, 'exceptional' charity work and opportunities to travel abroad.

The report stated: "The school is rightly proud of its caring, inclusive ethos. Students speak favourably of the school and parents' overwhelming support is summed up by a parent who comments that, 'this is an absolutely first-rate school'.

"The headteacher has established a calm and productive climate for learning and set high expectations for staff and students alike."

County Upper School was also commended for the regular newsletters, the 'excellent value for money' and effectiveness of the sixth form.

Heateacher Vicky Neale said: "Very, very few schools are deemed outstanding on three separate occasions and nearly all their judgements were referred to as outstanding or exceptional. The report is testament to the exceptional relation on all levels.

"I'm also pleased to read that the students left an indelible impression on the inspectors. It's the strongest report I have ever read.

"Everyone is delighted."

In February, the school also passed the national standard for careers information and guidance which will enable it to offer the Government's new 14-

19 diplomas.

Meanwhile, a middle school has been commended for its good quality music opportunities in a recent Ofsted survey.

Inspectors highlighted the 'real enthusiasm' at Westley Middle School, in Bury St Edmunds, for music and the pupils high praise for the commitment of staff.

The visit, which took place at the end of February, also congratulated the school on its wide range of musical opportunities, the subject leader's desire for constant improvement and how music was contributing to pupils' personal development and well-being.

March 14, 2008