A Bolton primary school where pupils are encouraged to have a ‘love of books’ and listen to weekly poetry has received its first Ofsted report in 13 years.

The Oaks Primary School, on Sharples Hall Drive, received a rating of ‘good’ – down from its previous grade of ‘outstanding’ – in a report published on Thursday, February 1.

Headteacher Fallon Trainor, who has worked at the school for 16 years, said she was ‘really pleased’ with the good result – and, while saying she thought the process was fair, blamed changes to the Ofsted framework for the school missing out on the top grade.

The school recently came third in the government’s primary school performance league tables in the borough, with 88 per cent of pupils meeting the expected standards in their SATs exams.

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The two-strong Ofsted inspection team, made up of lead inspector David Spruce and Ofsted inspector Sharon Cowey, visited the school on December 5 and 6 last year.

In their report, inspectors praised the school, adding that pupils, who described the school as a place that ‘feels like a family’, were ‘well cared for’.

Pupils were said to be well-behaved and to enjoy lessons, with participation in lessons described as ‘enthusiastic’ and disruption minimal.

The school’s curriculum was praised as ‘broad and balanced’, with staff said to deliver content effectively, and pupils said to build knowledge over time.

Inspectors reported: "Pupils, along with the rest of the school community, described The Oaks as a place that ‘feels like a family’.

"This sentiment shows how well cared for pupils are. It also reflects how well pupils get along with each other. Pupils are happy, safe and content.

"The school is very ambitious for what pupils should learn. Pupils achieve extremely well in reading, writing and mathematics. Despite not reaching these same lofty standards in a minority of curriculum areas, pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), still achieve well in most other subjects.

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Speaking to The Bolton News, headteacher Mrs Trainor said that individual words in Ofsted’s framework had held the school back from the top grade.

She added: “Since our last inspection, the whole national curriculum’s changed, the Ofsted framework’s changed numerous times. We felt like it was a fair process and we were asked throughout the inspection if we felt like it was a fair process as well.

“After 13 years without an inspection to still get a ‘good’ grade is very good, we’re really pleased with the judgment of ‘good’, with it being so long since the last inspection.

“We’re happy that they acknowledged that we are a real family community, because that’s something that we really pride ourselves on here.

“Regardless of what the one-word judgement says, I am confident that our staff provide an excellent education every day, they bring learning to life for our children and make the lessons fun and engaging which is why they make such good progress and we achieve excellent results year on year.

“Every year we are oversubscribed and pride ourselves on having a such a strong partnership with our parents and the community.”

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