'Children know that they can achieve': Wisbech school fights back after poor SATS results to embrace positivity and perseverance

PUBLISHED: 16:25 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:34 04 January 2019

A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLER

A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLER

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A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus.

A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLERA Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLER

St Peter’s Church of England Junior School, in Trafford Road, was rated as one of the worst schools in Cambridgeshire with only one in four children expected to hit national targets in reading and writing last summer.

However, since the appointment of head of school Amy Harvey in September, the school has gone from strength to strength with a range of fun activities in and out of term time, wider community engagement and the introduction of ‘positive pillars’ which focus on core values.

During the Christmas break the school has been open to parents and children to come into the main hall and play, share sandwiches, cake and socialise.

Miss Harvey, who has worked in education in schools across the East of England, said: “The results from the SATs last year were not great, but we worked with what we had to most importantly make sure there was a feeling of happiness here.

A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLERA Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLER

“The community work has been really positive and we’ve set up a parent’s forum to make sure communication between everyone is better.

“The behaviour of the children has really improved – they now know that they can achieve because people now tell them that they can.”

St Peter’s runs a variety of activities for pupils, including ‘Flamingo Friday’, Thrive, Forest School and FISH (food and fun in the school holidays).

In their last Ofsted in 2017, they were ranked as requiring improvement – but now Miss Harvey says that 76 per cent of parents would recommend the school.

A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLERA Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLER

“Our next Ofsted and SATs will be better, but I believe that’s not the most important thing – but making sure that children and parents are happy and content,” she said.

“When parents were asked in the last Ofsted if they were happy, 86 per cent said they weren’t, but in November our survey showed that 76 per cent would now recommend the school to others, so that’s a huge improvement.

“I just want to make sure that we keep moving forward and that we become a hub for the community and well known as a good school in the area by getting out of the ‘requiring improvement’ rating.

“If you give the children a really good environment then they will value what they have.”

A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLERA Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLER

But its not only staff speaking highly of the school, parents are impressed too.

Rachel Carter, who has two children at school in Year 4 and 5, said: “There is a big difference, everyone is really positive and the atmosphere of the school just feels better.

“The children are happy, the teachers are happy and the staff are working great with the parents.

“The children look forward to coming into school on a Monday.”

A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLERA Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLER

Lisa Hewitt and Kat Doyle, who also have children at the school, added: “The way it has changed in one term has made a drastic difference and the hard work of everyone really shows.

“Our ideas were taken and put into action.”

A Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLERA Wisbech school that was at the bottom of the league tables for SATS results has fought back to bring community spirit, positivity and learning into focus. Picture: CLARE BUTLER

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