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Outstanding becomes a habit in Smethwick

Shireland Hall Primary Academy is an ‘exceptional’ school with ‘fabulous’ and ‘inventive’ teachers according to the OFSTED report released today that judged the school to be ‘outstanding’ overall. This is the second outstanding judgement for Allan Shephard and his team coming little more than a year after the other school in the Smethwick federation, George Betts Primary Academy, was judged to have outstanding leadership and behaviour.

Both schools have been part of the Elliot Foundation since 2013 and this latest judgement is the sixth ‘outstanding overall’ from 14 OFSTED inspections. Although drawn from comparatively small numbers, 42% across the trust is three times higher than the national average for deprived primary schools and four times higher than the West Midlands’ average.

OFSTED inspectors said: - The quality of leadership at this school is superb. Leaders expect and get the best from everyone. Everyone’s talents and skills are noticed and nurtured.

  • From starting points that are generally below average, pupils do exceptionally well and reach standards that are in line with, and increasingly above, age-related expectations at the end of Year 6.

  • Across the school, there is a climate of trust. Leaders listen to staff and encourage new ideas. There is a strong culture of accountability yet no fear of failure.

  • Leadership at every level, within and beyond the school, demonstrates a kind, supportive, purposeful authority, underpinned with high expectations and an ambition for all to do their best. They have established a culture of trust and respect that is understood by staff and pupils alike.

Elliot Foundation CEO, Hugh Greenway, said, “I am bowled over by what Allan and his team have achieved. That quote about his leadership being kind, supportive and purposeful… it just doesn’t get any better than that. Everyone involved with the school should be so proud!”

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