‘Quiet determination’ of Stowmarket headteacher pays off after ‘good’ Ofsted

Ben Hemmings, headteacher at Chilton Community Primary School, in Stowmarket, with the school council.
Ben Hemmings, headteacher at Chilton Community Primary School, in Stowmarket, with the school council.
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The ‘quiet determination’ of a Stowmarket headteacher has paid off after his school was praised as ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Ben Hemmings took charge at Chilton Community Primary in September 2016 and has been ‘instrumental in bringing about rapid school improvement’, the education watchdog said.

Following a visit in December, Ofsted found that although the school’s journey since its last inspection in 2012 - when it was rated ‘good’ - ‘has not been without its setbacks, current pupils receive a good and improving education’.

In a report, inspectors said Mr Hemmings ‘leads the school with quiet determination’ and has ‘high expectations and a clear understanding of what constitutes effective teaching and learning’.

Teaching, particularly in phonics, is ‘effective’ and a ‘high proportion of pupils are currently producing work of a high standard in reading, writing and mathematics’.

Mr Hemmings said: “We’re delighted with the outcome of the inspection. It reflects an incredible amount of hard work from the pupils, staff and governors, which, as the report states has led to rapid school improvement.

“We’re now delivering the high quality education which our pupils deserve.

“The staff and students are responsible for implementing all of the changes that have taken place and I feel privileged to work alongside such a dedicated and talented team.”

He thanked the governors and parents for their support.

Ofsted found that ‘outcomes for current children are improving rapidly as historical underachievement is being eradicated and leaders have higher expectations’.

Responding to a questionnaire, one parent ‘spoke for many’ by saying: “My child adores this school and has progressed hugely since starting.”

To improve further, inspectors said Chilton Primary, in Violet Hill Road, needed to ‘continue to accelerate pupils’ progress and further raise standards in reading, writing and mathematics’.

The school can do this by ‘rigorously monitoring and evaluating the impact of newly introduced teaching approaches, increasing the amount of challenge for the most able pupils in all subjects and ensuring pupils consistently take pride and care in the presentation of their work’.