Cabinet minister Damian Hinds heaped praise on the ‘inspirational leadership’ at Oak View Academy after a visit to see the school’s stunning turnaround.
The Secretary of State for Education described the Winsford primary as a ‘success story’ after witnessing its ‘truly dramatic’ progress since being ranked second-worst in the country five years ago.
At its lowest ebb in 2014, the Whitby’s Lane school was taken on by North West Academies Trust (NWAT) and relaunched as Oak View.
Now Mr Hinds has run the rule over a school which boasts a ‘good’ Ofsted rating and year-on-year improvements in pupil progress.
“What a great school with very inspiring and amazingly committed leadership from the head and the academy trust. It has been great to meet some of the absolutely delightful kids and see some of the huge variety of what they are doing. It has been an amazing turnaround, a success story, and I think that is of credit to the school leadership, all the teachers and the whole school community. The turnaround in attainment has been truly dramatic and it is great to see there are so many out of school extra-curricular activities.”
The school has made huge strides under NWAT after being rated second-worst in the national primary school league tables, based on exam results.
Executive Headteacher Fiona Whittaker said it is down to hard work and determination.
“It is fantastic that the school is getting this recognition. We work really hard to improve standards. Two years ago, we were in the top 2% of schools nationally for progress, which is an achievement we are very proud of. This year we are second in Cheshire for progress in writing. We continue working really hard to help our children make the best progress they can. We are consistent in our approach from early years and the additional support we put in place through specialist support staff, including a full-time speech and language therapist and a school counsellor, has really helped our children.To further this, we now welcome children from age two and we have a longer school day, from 8.30am to 3.15pm, which gives us the extra time we need to concentrate on the core subjects whilst also offering a wide-range of additional activities.”
A bursary from the Alex Timpson Foundation has also enabled youngsters to enjoy a number of trips – including to the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Houses of Parliament in London and Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh.