Glowing report says school has safety and success ‘at heart’

CELEBRATION TIME -- proud members of Hillside's school council revel in the glowing OFSTED report. They are (from left): chairman Joseph Pearl, secretary Lauren Muzeja, treasurer John Pykett and vice-chairman William Stevenson
CELEBRATION TIME -- proud members of Hillside's school council revel in the glowing OFSTED report. They are (from left): chairman Joseph Pearl, secretary Lauren Muzeja, treasurer John Pykett and vice-chairman William Stevenson

A GLOWING report has declared that the success and safety of children is “at the heart” of operations at Hillside Primary School in Hucknall.

Inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) have given the school on Roberts Lane an overall ‘good’ rating with some ‘outstanding’ features.

A report states that Hillside, which opened in 2006, offers a “delightful learning environment” and that youngsters “make an excellent contribution to the school and wider community”.

Significant improvements since the last inspection in 2008 had left Hillside in a prime position to build towards a bright future.

Head teacher Dot Stenson and her senior-management team are described as “ambitious” and with high expectations in the report. She told the Dispatch: “We are all very pleased with the outcome. Everyone at the school and associated with the school has worked very hard.

“Things are always very challenging and there is a lot of pressure to succeed.

“But my thanks go to everyone who is helping to make the school a success.”

Hillside was created when the former Whyburn and Spring Street Primary Schools amalgamated.

It brought the curtain down on more than 130 years of history at Spring Street, which has now been converted into a private day nursery and the Oceans Of Fun soft-play centre.

Hillside is a larger-than-average primary school with almost 400 pupils on the roll. But it has gone from strength to strength and now offers teaching that is generally lively and enthusiastic and sometimes outstanding, according to the latest OFSTED report.

OFSTED inspectors discovered that children feel very safe, get on well together and behave well in lessons and in the playground.

As part of a diverse education, youngsters had raised funds to support victims of last year’s floods in Pakistan, healthy eating was promoted and a five-year plan was in place to drive forward improvements.

Innovative initiatives included children being given the option of applying for, and being interviewed for, jobs around the school, such as playground monitor.

In a survey of parents, 96% agreed or strongly agreed that their child enjoyed school.

The questionnaires showed that 99% of parents quizzed said their children were kept safe and 97% agreed or strongly agreed that teaching is good.

The only areas highlighted for concern were to improve the consistency of good and outstanding teaching and to boost attendance.

Peter Flint, chairman of governors at the school, said: “From our point of view, it is an excellent report for the school. It shows the commitment of all the staff and the pupils.”