Stockport headteacher ecstatic with Ofsted findings as primary school proves educational trail-blazer

By Ross McLean

A proud Greater Manchester headteacher is aiming to build on existing high standards, after an Ofsted report saw her school pass with flying colours.

Stockport’s Brookside Primary School sailed through the various criteria, including achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management – all ranked as ‘good’.

And headteacher Maxine Holmes is keen to highlight the inclusive nature of the school, which includes a high proportion of disabled children and pupils with special educational needs.

“We are very pleased with the report but we are always striving to be the best we can,” she said.

“We have strong governance, a strong partnership with parents and outstanding staff, which I think is reflected in the provision we have received.

“And we are a unique school because we are a family school so a lot of the things we do are family-orientated.

“It’s all about making learning fun and exciting and that is something we are extremely proud of.”

One area the school received particular praise for was the behaviour and safety of their pupils, which Ofsted lead inspector Lenford White rated extremely highly.

“The behaviour of pupils is outstanding,” he said.

“Staff have been highly successful in implementing a system of restorative justice.

“This has enabled all members of the school community, including parents, to prevent conflicts between pupils and skilfully deal with any minor fall-outs.”

Mrs Holmes, in her fifth year as headteacher, pinpoints the innovative restorative approach the school has pioneered as a primary reason for impressive pupil behaviour.

Restorative justice – often used by police authorities – sees children openly discuss their feelings towards each other and is now being used as a blueprint for other schools.

“We are extremely proud of the pupils’ behaviour and how it was judged, with our restorative approach something new in Stockport,” she added.

“We are one of a few schools that are leading on this and I think it particularly impressed the inspectors.

“We do something called ‘circle time’ so the children are used to talking to each other and listening, it’s about equipping the children with emotional words and feelings.

“We have had some filming done at the school last week for other schools and governors – a training video specifically on the restorative approach and the use of circles.”

Conservative councillor Linda Holt – appointed chair of Stockport Council’s children and young people scrutiny committee for the forthcoming year – speaks in glowing terms about the school’s behavioural policy.

“That side of the school has been ranked as outstanding and it’s the first school Ofsted have come across that used the restorative approach,” she said.

“It’s proved successful and it’s now going to be tried in other schools – it’s a really good initiative.

“I will be making sure as committee chair that we adopt this approach in schools across Stockpot as it pays dividends at the end of the day.”

The work of Brookside Primary School – which currently has 171 pupils on its roll – has also been fully endorsed by Hazel Grove’s parliamentary representative, Liberal Democrat MP Andrew Stunell.

“I was very pleased to see that Ofsted commended the outstanding work of integrating disabled children and those with special needs into mainstream classes,” he said.

“I’ve always found it a delightful, happy place to visit, and clearly so did Ofsted.”

Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.

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