‘Inspirational’ Highbury school praised by Ofsted

A HIGHBURY primary school has been rated “outstanding” in nearly every category by Ofsted.

Gillespie school, in Gillespie Road, was described in inspectors’ report as being “inspirational for pupils and all members of the school community”.

Progress across the school is good and attainment in year six is above average, in part because of the “exceptional curriculum provision” which successfully makes links between each subject area.

Alongside the standard lessons, all pupils in years four, five and six also learn either the violin or cello. Inspectors noted there were “equally impressive opportunities” for pupils to participate in a wide range of sporting and other activities, with a variety of after-school clubs and competitive team events on offer.

The leadership and management at Gillespie School is described as “outstanding”, with “a deep sense of shared responsibility, common purpose and commitment amongst staff and governors”.

Headteacher Mark Owen said: “I am delighted for my staff, governors and parents who all deserve praise for working so enthusiastically to improve our school for our wonderful Gillespie children.”

As a result of “strong care, guidance and support and an evident emphasis on social, moral, spiritual and cultural development”, pupils at Gillespie School are responsible and their behaviour is “excellent”.

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Many pupils enjoy playing a role in the school council and “buddies and monitors carry out their responsibilities maturely and demonstrate that strong school leadership is shared with pupils”.

Councillor Richard Watts, Islington Council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “We want to give every child in Islington the best possible start in life and Gillespie School is helping to do this. The school provides a good education so its pupils achieve highly and are well prepared for moving on to secondary school. Teachers, staff and governors have also worked hard with parents to create a successful school community. Well done to everyone at the school for this great feedback from Ofsted.”

Gillespie School has built up a ‘harmonious community that promotes, understands and celebrates equality and diversity’. In addition to strong links with local schools and organisations, Gillespie has also developed a relationship with a school in Niger in Africa.

Ofsted noted that parents and carers could not be more enthusiastic about the school. “They are considered as partners and valued participants in school life,” the inspectors noted.

To improve further, the report said the school must raise attainment in English and mathematics so that an increased proportion of pupils exceed the nationally expected levels by the end of Key Stage 2.