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Newark: Lovers’ Lane Primary School puts its poor Ofsted report in the rear view mirror

All roads are leading to positive outcomes at a Newark primary school and a poor Ofsted inspection is confined to the rear view mirror, says its head.

Significant changes have been made at Lovers’ Lane Primary School and its children are happy, nurtured and engaged, said Jenny Hodgkinson.

“We have made great strides,” she said. “I’m not saying we are at the end of the road as there’s always more that you can do, but this school is unrecognisable from its last Ofsted inspection.

Grace Mallory, 4.
Grace Mallory, 4.

“We have looked at nursery and reception and had a a real push on early years’ provision.

“Some children who come here have had limited development prior to arriving, or English may not be their first language.

“New systems are in place for reading and writing; there have been training pathways put in place and the needs of individual children are tailored for.

“Everything is done in a much more strategic and systematic approach. Our nursery children have really started to develop quickly. Infants, and now juniors, are catching up and making progress in their spelling.

“Children have, and use, key words and concept words to to learn to help develop their vocabulary.

“We are using the schools’ phonics programme and all staff are training and we’re working alongside the provider on development days and processes are evolving.

“The children are enjoying and progressing as a a result.”

Gone is the old outdoor climbing frame and instead children play on new equipment including a sand pit and a mud kitchen, which contributes to making learning fun.

The PTA and local community raised £4,000 for a new trim trail, which Jenny said was an amazing achievement by all in what is classed as a deprived area.

“We have updated our indoor resources and the outdoor area has been vastly improved,” Jenny said.

“The opportunities the children have in the new outdoor area for such an off-the-beaten-track school is huge.

“We have come back better than ever from covid closure. Everyone now is on-point. There is a very calm feel, a family feel about the place.

“Respect is shown, we work together as a school and as a community; we have grown together, aspire together and nurture each other, just like our ethos says, and our curriculum is being re-written alongside our future.

“Lovers’ Lane is now a progressive school where the top priority is the pupils.”

Jenny said the school’s last Ofsted report, in which the school was considered as needing improvement, was now in the past, and people should look at what is happening there now.

“Our staff have had a raft of training linked to a lot of support from the local authority, providers, National College best practice and the Flying High Teaching Alliance,” she said.

“When people look at our Ofsted inspection what they see is historical.

“We’ve improved as a whole and as a sum of our parts and everyone connected to the school should be justly proud of that.”

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