Northampton primary school palmed off by academies trust 'thrives' under new principal, says Ofsted

Pupil's personal development at Thorplands Primary School is "outstanding", says Ofsted.
Pupil's personal development at Thorplands Primary School is "outstanding", says Ofsted.

Pupils are “thriving” at a Northampton Primary School despite the fact its academies trust is trying to give up responsibility for it.

Thorplands Primary School has climbed up from its "requires improvement" status to a "good" rating after inspectors found "strong and inspiring leadership" and staff who were "willing to go the extra mile to ensure pupils achieve well".

It comes after the school's academies trust, Education Fellowship Trust, announced it would hand back control of Thorplands and nearby Blackthorn Academy to the Government in March over "financial constraints".

But the Government are unable to accept control of the schools until a new trust agrees to take them on - placing Blackthorns and Thorplands in a state of limbo and at a financial disadvantage.

However, the new Ofsted report for Thorplands reads: "Pupils thrive in this happy school. Their personal development is outstanding.

"Pupils work with concentration and enthusiasm in lessons. At breaktimes, they have a great range of activities to enjoy, including climbing trees and making dens in the 'secret garden'.

"The principal has quickly developed an effective team of senior leaders. Together, they have secured better teaching through high-quality training and coaching."

The academy was previously criticised for "inconsistencies" in teaching, which earned it a "requires improvement" grade in 2015.

The report particularly praises principal Madeline Dunckley, who was appointed in September 2016, saying she is "determined that the pupils of Thorplands will overcome the barriers posed by economic disadvantage, and will achieve well in school and their later lives."

Principal Dunckley said: "I am very proud of the staff at Thorplands Primary, the community support and our

wonderful inspirational children.

"The school is embracing the positive changes to ensure our pupils receive the best possible education."