The University of Cambridge Primary School is celebrating after receiving its first OFSTED report. Inspectors found the school outstanding in all the performance categories. The school, which has been open for three years at Eddington, on the edge of Cambridge, is the first University Training Primary School in the UK.
Two inspectors visited the school to carry out their assessments.
- From the opening in 2015, the headteacher has led the school with a tenacious, yet compassionate determination to ensure that all pupils succeed, whatever their starting points.
- Leaders at all levels, including governors, are relentless in their pursuit of high-quality learning experiences for pupils across every aspect of the exceptionally well-considered curriculum.
- The school’s research-informed curriculum is ambitious, innovative and inclusive. It aims to ‘develop compassionate citizens in a positive social climate of high expectations.’ In doing so, it challenges pupils very effectively to achieve well.
- Pupils are regularly challenged to achieve their best, through carefully planned activities and teachers’ skilful questioning.
- Provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Staff provide high-quality support for vulnerable pupils in a nurturing environment and so typically these pupils make excellent progress. The welfare and care of all pupils is of paramount importance.
- The behaviour of pupils is outstanding.
- Working relationships between staff and parents are excellent. Parents are kept well informed about their children’s progress. Most are regular participants in the ‘family Friday’ sessions which allow them to join in with their children’s learning and to discuss it with school’s staff.
- Pupils with complex needs receive high-quality care across all aspects of the school day.
Headteacher, Dr. James Biddulph, welcomed the report saying:
"It is a privilege to lead such a dedicated and passionate team of educators, including teachers and teaching assistants, ably supported by a superb administrative team. They have each risen to the massive challenge set us by the University and UK government to create a school that could contribute to innovating curricula and thinking about what constitutes a truly brilliant education for our children. We look forward to more collaboration with our colleagues in other schools to continue our own learning and contribute to the learning of others."
The school opened at Eddington, at the University of Cambridge’s North-West Cambridge site, in September 2015 with just 120 pupils. It was the first operational building serving the local community. There will be pupils 630 in September 2021, when it’s expected to reach full capacity. The school has been designed to provide diverse learning spaces. All the classrooms open up to the school grounds to promote outdoor learning opportunities. Currently there are 31 staff. Staff training is highly valued and teachers have access to advice and support of the University’s Faculty of Education. In January, the school was named as a regional hub for the Chartered College of Training (CCT).
The University of Cambridge’s Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Graham Virgo, says:
"When we opened in 2015, we were expected to be a local community primary school as well as establish ourselves as the first University Training School in the UK for primary. The challenge has been enormous and demonstrates the University's commitment to impact positively on society locally, as well as nationally. I am delighted that the hard work of many people, particularly the headteacher, the teaching staff, teaching assistants and pupils themselves, has been recognised in this through this outstanding OFSTED report."
The school is already working with colleagues as far afield as India and is planning a number of new projects to consider how research informed practice can be disseminated through primary schools. As the headteacher commented, in remarks to the inspectors, “We are not the finished article…we never will be.”