Two middle schools with different fates under Suffolk’s move to two tier education have been praised by Ofsted.
Ixworth and Westley Middle Schools both received an overall ‘good’ grading and ‘outstanding’ for the behaviour and safety of pupils.
The ratings have been awarded against contrasting backdrops with Ixworth due to close next year and Westley Middle part of the all-through Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust.
At Ixworth, inspectors found that ‘pupils achieve well’ and ‘at Key Stages Two and Three in 2012, standards in English and mathematics were the highest they have been for three years’. Meanwhile, ‘the teaching is good and, at times, outstanding’.
They also felt the headteacher and senior managers have ‘worked successfully to maintain good standards of achievement and teaching, despite the fact that the school is soon to close’.
Marking which ‘does not always make it clear to pupils how they can improve’ is among the reasons the school is not yet outstanding.
Headteacher Glenice Francis said: “It’s a real testament to the good practice in this school that in the penultimate year for closure we’re still able to reach very high standards.
She said their grading is ‘particularly commendable’ following Ofsted’s ‘more rigorous framework’.
Mrs Francis added: “I’m especially proud of our hardworking pupils and appreciate the strong support that parents show for the school.”
At Westley, inspectors said that ‘since the school became an academy, pupils in all year groups have made good progress in English and mathematics’.
Pupils’ attainment at the end of Year 8 was ‘above expectations for their age in 2012 and is on track to be so again in 2013’.
Teaching is also ‘good, and, at times outstanding’.
They noted that the Trust’s four to 19 co-ordinator Amanda Sands has ‘helped to improve the consistency of mathematics teaching across all the schools’.
The school is not yet outstanding because in some lessons ‘pupils are not given opportunities to work on their own, find things out for themselves and think creatively’.
Headteacher Nick Templeton said: ““I’m extremely pleased that Ofsted celebrated the hard work of the staff and the impeccable behaviour of the pupils.
“They also recognised how the all through arrangements of the Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust is driving up standards.”