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Tivetshall Community Primary School: From the brink of closure to glowing report from Ofsted

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A primary school that was on the brink of closure less than two years ago has been lauded for its quality of teaching in a recent Ofsted inspection.

Inspectors awarded Tivetshall Community Primary with a ‘Good’ rating last week, following a visit from inspectors back in October.

Headteacher Debbie Ridgeon welcomed the report, which praised the school for identified a curriculum that was “ambitious for all pupils” with the school providing pupils with “a wide range of subjects.”

It’s smiles all round at Tivetshall as the school celebrates its ‘good’ Ofsted rating. Picture by Mark Bullimore.
It’s smiles all round at Tivetshall as the school celebrates its ‘good’ Ofsted rating. Picture by Mark Bullimore.

Mrs Ridgeon, who joined the school earlier this year, said: “As the headteacher of this small rural primary school, which is the heart of the community, I am extremely pleased that Ofsted inspectors acknowledge the amazing work that goes on here.

“All the staff work hard on ensuring the children have a wide range of opportunities and have the experiences they would have in a larger school.

“I hope that everyone involved with the school will feel immense pride in the many positives about our school which have been highlighted in the report. “

Behaviour in the school was another area the inspectors highlighted as a strength.

The report, which is available to view in full on the school’s website, said that “Across the school, pupils behave well. They are polite and courteous.”

Inspectors also observed that the school “wants pupils to be well-rounded British citizens. Leaders and the trust have created a positive climate where pupils and staff feel valued and supported.”

It marks a remarkable change in fortunes for the Tivetshall Primary, which looked set to be closed for good back in 2019 after the trust that runs it, Sapientia Education, made plans to merge it with nearby Burston Primary, due to a declining number of pupils.

Parents at the school responded by launching a campaign, warning the closing the school would “destroy the heart of the village”.

Following a protest, in which parents and pupils took the street with picket signs urging authorities to ‘Save Tivetshall School’, Sapienta decided against the amalgamation.

Jonathan Taylor, CEO of the Sapientia Education Trust, commented: “Small rural primary schools can face challenges in delivering a broad curriculum and wider educational experiences for pupils.

Mrs Ridgeon and her team at Tivetshall have worked with our trust to ensure our pupils gain the benefits of attending a small, caring school whilst delivering an overall educational experience at least the equal to much larger primary schools.”

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