A PRIMARY school has retained its Good rating from Ofsted following its most recent visit - with the inspector saying it would be judged ‘outstanding’ if given a graded inspection now.

After visiting Bemerton St John C of E Primary School on Tuesday, May 16 and Wednesday, May 17, Ofsted said pupils “love learning, are excited to attend the school” and that “pupils’ behaviour is exemplary.”

Ofsted said the school provided ample opportunities for students to develop interests and talents and take on responsibilities.

The report said: “One pupil summed up the school experience of many pupils, saying ‘We’ve got so many opportunities that give us the freedom to be us.’”

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Ofsted further complimented the efforts of the school to familiarise students with local history and culture, such as Stonehenge and the views of Salisbury painted by John Constable.

Inspectors gave positive reviews of the school’s curriculum and said the school “encourages pupils to learn to be curious” and discuss ideas with each other.

Despite mostly highly positive words, Ofsted said there was room for improvement in the teaching of a small number of subjects. 

Headteacher Claire Pearce said she was delighted with the outcome of the inspection, which took place only a matter of weeks after she was appointed as permanent headteacher for the school. 

She said no other primary school in the area has achieved an outstanding judgement in about eight years and that this report states that if this was a graded inspection, it would be outstanding now.

To illustrate how difficult it is to achieve this status, between January and March this year, only one out of 108 schools in the whole of the south west was awarded this outcome.

She said: "This is a tremendous affirmation of the hard work and fabulous teamwork at Bemerton St John. I am incredibly proud of the pupils and our staff."

Mrs Pearce, a former pupil of Bemerton St John herself, has worked at the school for the last 12 years and says she is passionate about achieving the very best for children.

She said: "The report contains helpful advice for us about the further development of our strong curriculum in order to ensure that all children remember the essential knowledge in every subject.

"We have already made good progress since the inspection and are determined that when an Ofsted team returns for a graded inspection in a couple of years, we will achieve that top grade."

In 2019 Bemerton St John became the first primary school to join Magna Learning Partnership, now a trust of 10 schools in the Salisbury area. 

Sarah Busby, CEO, is also celebrating the school’s achievement. 

She said: "I am thrilled with the outcome of this inspection, but not surprised. Any visitor to this wonderful school is immediately struck by the quality of experience provided for the children here. We are delighted to share the excellent work at Bemerton with other schools in our trust and also in the wider Salisbury area."