‘We won’t stop until we’re outstanding’ – says school

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A previously struggling school in Leighton Buzzard has achieved a radical improvement in a short space of time, according to Ofsted.

Gilbert Inglefield Academy was in special measures with a rating of ‘Inadequate’ at its last inspection published in April 2015.

But just 15 months on, the school has leaped upwards by two ratings, securing a score of ‘Good’ in all areas of its latest Ofsted report released last week.

The inspection noted: “The headteacher’s unrelenting focus and determination have transformed the school since the last inspection.”

Headteacher Rachel Swaffield told the LBO: “We are naturally delighted with this outcome.

“Being in special measures creates a huge amount of pressure and makes recruitment of both staff and pupils much more problematic.

“We have managed to turn the school around despite these difficulties and we are now in a very positive position to drive onwards and upwards.

“We won’t stop until we can truly offer an ‘outstanding’ education to the children of Leighton Buzzard!”

As well as “rapidly rising standards” in teaching, the school’s new board of governors was also praised for its effectiveness.

Inspectors state the school no longer requires special measures.

Mrs Swaffield added that th pupils were thrilled to see the school puppy Elsa even got a mention in the report.

It stated: “Elsa ... arrived in January as a cute puppy and is rapidly growing into a school icon.

“Pupils like caring for a pet, and say that Elsa makes them feel calm and happy when they are anxious or sad.”

The report went on:“The headteacher has shown remarkable energy and fortitude in steering improvement since the last inspection, particularly during the last six months, when staffing has been decimated by illness.”

Mrs Swaffield joined the academy only a term before its April 2015 inspection, when it received the ‘Requires Improvement’ rating.

The results of that report were hotly debated after the academy filed a complaint against the inspection, which it claimed had been disproportionately concerned with the school’s first two year groups.