Acomb Primary School’s Headteacher, Lee Haynes, with pupils

Students and staff at Acomb Primary School have been celebrating the school being judged Outstanding in all areas by Ofsted following a two-day inspection in September.

Headteacher, Lee Haynes, said: “I am thrilled that Ofsted has recognised the strengths of our school. This report shows the hard work and dedication that the whole school community has invested to make Acomb Primary an exceptional place to learn and work. We are especially pleased that our work on the personal development of pupils has been recognised as a strength – it is a central part of our work to ensure that children are prepared for later life and we are proud of everything we do in this area.”

The school, which was previously judged Good, had an ungraded inspection in May 2022 in which Ofsted found enough evidence of improved performance to suggest the school could be judged outstanding at its next inspection.

Describing what it is like to attend the school, the report opens with: “Acomb Primary School has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Pupils love their school. They demonstrate consistently positive attitudes to their education.”

The report goes on to praise the school’s ‘exceptional curriculum’ including the support for pupils with SEND to fully access the curriculum and achieve the same outcomes as their peers. The early years curriculum was also described as exemplary, with inspectors noting: “The stimulating environment enables children to be independent. Children are highly motivated and sustain concentration when participating in exciting and interesting activities.”

During their visit, inspectors met with Headteacher, subject champions, staff and pupils. They also carried out in depth reviews across a range of subjects and evaluated the effectiveness of safeguarding.

The wider personal development pupils receive was recognised as a particular strength of the school, with the report stating: “The school’s ‘Acorns’ initiative enhances pupils’ learning. These are a wide, rich set of experiences that give pupils opportunities to develop their character and to make a difference to the school, their community and the wider world. For example, pupils visit local landmarks, perform a Shakespeare play at a York theatre, contribute to the community by tidying the park and support charities.”

“The school provides an extensive extra-curricular offer. There is strong take-up by pupils to develop their talents and interests in activities like, sport, music, science, art and the environment.”

Highlighting the leadership of the school, the report noted: “The trust and local governing committee recognise the strength of the school leadership. Leadership at all levels is extraordinary.”

The school’s Chair of Governors, Jennifer Garbutt, said: “This outstanding result is incredibly well deserved. It recognises what a special place Acomb Primary is and how hard all the staff work to give our children an exceptional start in life.” 

Acomb Primary is a popular and oversubscribed school with 320 students from Early Years to Year 6. The school has been educating children from Acomb and surrounding areas for almost 130 years, opening in August 1894 as Acomb Board School in Front Street. In 1995 the school moved to its present site in West Bank and has been part of Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust since January 2018.

Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust’s CEO, Andrew Daly, said: “Acomb’s Ofsted success is recognition of the hard work and dedication of the entire school community. Outstanding judgements are not easy to achieve and are testament to the continued focus to deliver an excellent, all-round, education each and every day. Well done to the staff, children, governors and families on this well-deserved outcome.”

Lee Haynes added: “I would like to thank the parents and carers for their unwavering support and to recognise the children for their excellent behaviour and attitudes. Ofsted quite rightly saw this and commented that pupils are extremely polite and articulate.”