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Partners lead school to top grades

PUBLISHED: 11:52 05 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:12 05 July 2010

TOP MARKS: Poplars Primary School joint head teachers Ian and Margaret Sneddon celebrate their Ofsted report with pupils.

TOP MARKS: Poplars Primary School joint head teachers Ian and Margaret Sneddon celebrate their Ofsted report with pupils.

A LOWESTOFT primary school which is uniquely led by a husband and wife team has received top accolades from education inspectors.

During a recent Ofsted inspection, officials handed out 25 grade one marks in judging the effectiveness of Poplars Primary, in St Margarets Road, Lowestoft, proving exemplary to many other schools across East Anglia.

A LOWESTOFT primary school which is uniquely led by a husband and wife team has received top accolades from education inspectors.

During a recent Ofsted inspection, officials handed out 25 grade one marks in judging the effectiveness of Poplars Primary, in St Margarets Road, Lowestoft, proving exemplary to many other schools across East Anglia.

The partnership of husband and wife Ian and Margaret Sneddon, who also double up as joint headteachers, was highly praised by inspector Ruth Frith who called their leadership inspirational and innovative.

She also commented on the progress pupils make by year four, recognised as levels above those she often sees.

The report reads: “Excellent leadership and management focus clearly on promoting pupils well-being and raising standards. This results in first-rate teaching and a stimulating curriculum, which lead to pupils' excellent personal development and high achievement.”

It explained how despite low starting points on entry to school, pupils of all abilities achieve exceptionally well over time because teaching is frequently excellent and pupils respond very well to the challenges set.

By year four pupils are working above those expected of this age.

Other areas commended was the way staff make pupils feel valued, the important role of teaching assistants and how the curriculum engenders excitement and enjoyment in learning.

Inspectors said: “It is particularly creditworthy that the small, but significant number of pupils with behaviour difficulties behave so well.

“Pupils make a very positive contribution to the school and wider community through showing respect and consideration for others, whether it be through their work on the school council, acting a play leaders, raising funds for charity or linking with an orphaned community in Sri Lanka.”

The nursery and reception section of the school was identified for developing children's communication skills by widening their vocabulary and use of language.

Mr and Mrs Sneddon were described as exceptional leads to colleagues.

“The school's success stems from the innovative and inspirational leadership of the headteachers. Each uses his or her particular expertise remarkably well. Together they show great commitment to the pupils, their families and the local community. They are instrumental in creating a very positive, community school ethos,” said inspectors.

Mr and Mrs Sneddon said their success was down to a whole team effort, and constantly seeking improvement was the essence of what they do.

Mr Sneddon said: “I think the ethos of the school for children and staff is that it has a 'can do' feeling about the place. It's a case of we can do that better and we will give all the help we can to get there.”

“I think the school is recognised in the community and it's something that has built up over time, year on year. We look at our strengths and celebrate these, but we also look at the areas to improve upon and work hard to do that,” added Mrs Sneddon.

“This is a very special school and we are so proud of the children, as well as our staff. We do have a superb group of children and it is fantastic for them to know they are doing well. We are not going to rest on our laurels.”

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