Double delight for head inspected twice in two months

Deborah Ridgeon, headteacher of Burston and Tivetshall primary schools

Deborah Ridgeon, headteacher of Burston and Tivetshall primary schools - Credit: Sapienta Education Trust

For any headteacher, a visit from an Ofsted inspector is among the most stressful moments of working life  - although ordinarily, these instances come years apart.

But for Deborah Ridgeon, this challenge was faced twice within the space of just six weeks.

Mrs Ridgeon is headteacher at Burston and Tivetshall primary schools - separate rural schools based three-and-a-half miles apart and run by the Sapientia Education Trust.

Inspectors from the education watchdog paid a visit to Tivetshall on October 14 last year.

Then, not two months later and Mrs Ridgeon was again overseeing an Ofsted visit, when it was the turn of Burston to receive the inspectors.

And both schools are now celebrating after being rated as 'good' by the watchdog - for Burston the first time it has held this rating since 2006.

Mrs Ridgeon said: "With such fantastic pupils and incredibly dedicated staff, I was confident that Ofsted would see two small villages delivering great educational opportunities for our children.

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"These schools sit at the heart of their communities and for both to be rated good is not only a boost for pupils, parents and staff, but also for the villages they serve."

The Burston result in particular is a welcome one, proving its best overall result in more than 15 years.

Since being rated as good in 2006, the school has been visited three times by Ofsted, being rated as satisfactory in 2010 before being told to improve in 2013 and 2015.

Mrs Ridgeon said the improvements seen are fitting for Burston village, which is famous for the longest-running school strike in history - from 1914 until 1939.

She added: "With this ‘good’ judgement recognising the hard work of everyone involved, I think those original campaigners would be delighted to see our modern, vibrant school still thriving.”

Jonathan Taylor, CEO of the Sapientia Education Trust, said: “When Burston and Tivertshall Primary schools first joined our trust, it was hard to see a way to keep both schools open. After looking at a range of options, including closing Tivetshall, we decided, to the trust to keep both schools open.

"Since then, we have invested heavily in both schools, ensuring the children of Burston and Tivetshall have access to all the educational opportunities you might find in bigger urban primary schools.”