Middle school gets sixth quality mark

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STOWMARKET Middle School has been awarded its sixth Quality Mark – the first ‘secondary school’ in the country to hold the mark for the 15 years since the award’s inception.

Every three years the school has had to re-apply for the mark, given as a reflection of the ‘basic skills’ of literacy and numeracy delivered by the school.

The school fills in a rigorous 30-page evaluation which is then scrutinised by an assessor who visits the school for a personal inspection.

Education consultant Elizabeth Pitcher, who assessed the school, said in her report that the school had a ‘strong system of assessment procedures’ and helped ‘vulnerable groups receive customised support’.

She also noted the school had a ‘positive and supportive ethos’ in supporting children with special educational needs.

Headteacher Sally Holmes said: “It is nice to be recognised for our good work.

“From our point of view it is testament to the fact that children with special needs gain rapid progress here.

“It is a national award, you have to pass all 10 elements of the quality mark.

“These focus on areas such as the appropriateness of the curriculum, ensuring the children’s needs are identified and met and making sure children progress both academically and socially.

“The assessor scrutinises all of our data, talks to our governors, our pupils and our parents to get a good picture of how the school works.”

However, the award is tinged with sadness as it is possible it will be the last the school will be accepting after plans to become an academy fell though in November.

The school’s future goes to consultation during the autumn term.

Mrs Holmes said: “The award is also testament to the excellent staff we have here.”