A SMALL primary school "with a big heart" has been given its first Ofsted rating after it became an academy.

St Thomas a Becket is a Church of England Aided Primary School in Tilshead which has 46 pupils aged four to 11 on its roll.

His Majesty's lead inspector Matt Fletcher and Ofsted inspector Jo Randall visited the school in February who graded the school 'good' overall.

The school joined EQUA Multi Academy Trust in January 2023 but its predecessor was also judged to be good overall.

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Pupils told inspectors the best thing about the school is that it's small so they know everyone.

Inspectors saw pupils of all ages playing together and noted how they are encouraged to develop their independence and curiosity.

"They show care and consideration towards each other. As a result, playtimes and lunchtimes are enjoyable for all. Relationships are strong between adults and pupils," the inspectors wrote.

Salisbury Journal: St Thomas a Becket Primary is a 'good' school.St Thomas a Becket Primary is a 'good' school. (Image: Chloe Stobbart)

St Thomas a Becket's curriculum is driven by three 'R's - it's 'relevant' for pupils, promotes the importance of 'reading' and gives pupils the chance to 'revisit' and build on their prior learning.

The inspectors said the "broad and ambitious" curriculum has been designed to develop pupils' curiosity about the world by making links to the local area.

While pupils progress through it well, the school recognises that the curriculum needs further embedding.

The inspectors commented: "Learning is not always adapted sufficiently in relation to what pupils know and can do. This makes it harder for pupils to deepen their knowledge as well as they could.

"In some subjects, assessment is not always used with enough precision to check what all pupils know and remember. This makes it harder for pupils to build on what they already know."

Learning to read is prioritised and children make a very strong start in the early years by learning phonics straight away.

If pupils fall behind, they receive the support they need to help them catch up quickly.

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This enthusiasm continues as they move through the school and pupils are encouraged to recommend books to each other.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities are swiftly identified and supported well.

Staff have the expertise to adapt learning for pupils with SEND which means that these pupils learn and progress through the curriculum as well as their peers.

Headteacher Nicki Boast said: "We are delighted with the positive outcome of our recent inspection.

"We pride ourselves on being nurturing and inclusive and this shone through loud and clear in the report.

"I am really proud of our small school with a big heart."