Merton school achieves outstanding from Ofsted

Hillcross Primary School in Merton, South West London, announced today its outstanding rating awarded by Ofsted.

The Morden school has seen a meteoric improvement over the last three years, in which time it has turned itself around from special measures to outstanding.

Head teacher Rachel Jacob, who joined the school in January 2010, and her dedicated team of staff have taken the pupils on a journey to success, where every pupil at the school has significantly improved in their learning. In its report on Hillcross, Ofsted cited English teaching as a strength and the school’s talk-for-learning programme a particular success, with every pupil feeling highly valued.

Following its inspection in mid March, Ofsted reported on the pupils’ exemplary behaviour in class, how much they enjoyed their learning and the level of significant progress they made during their time in school. Pupils told the Ofsted inspectors how they “loved their exciting and fun, creative curriculum”. The school’s increased focus on working with parents and its consideration of the children’s all-round development has resulted in huge parental support and involvement in their children’s learning and the education process as a whole. This involvement has led to increased motivation amongst pupils which is evident in their schoolwork, putting them on track to attain even higher results.

To achieve this outstanding result the school ensured a clear focus on developing children’s speaking, listening and thinking skills within a creative curriculum. Key to success is also the school’s approach to a shared team vision of learning, expectation of exemplary teaching alongside shared steps to success with the children. Ofsted noted: ‘Teaching is exemplary because lessons are skilfully planned to support individual learning needs with ‘steps to success’ clear and carefully explained to pupils’.

Head teacher Rachel Jacob said: “I am so proud of the rapid improvements the school has made. This has been down to our dedicated staff and governor team as well as our personalised curriculum that meets the needs of each individual child. At Hillcross we ensure all our children make outstanding progress through our programme of regular reviews and our partnership with parents. Our approach is based in thinking to learn and having fun with learning whilst ensuring the basic skills are taught at the highest possible level. The outstanding support from staff, governors and parents, along with the boundless capacity to improve, means that Hillcross will continue to strive for excellence and further develop its strengths in the creative arts, sports and outdoor learning opportunities.”

Merton Council cabinet member for education Councillor Peter Walker said: “This is a huge achievement for Hillcross and my congratulations go to Rachel and her staff for all the work they have done to achieve this outstanding result. Education in Merton is getting better and better. Hillcross is a great example to all schools as to what is possible with a dedicated staff and supportive parents.”