New Hall School celebrates academy success

Independent Education Today, 16.07.15, first independent school to sponsor a state primary school celebrates as Ofsted rates leadership and management 'Outstanding'.

Messing Primary School is celebrating their first inspection report since leaving local authority control and becoming a sponsored academy of New Hall Multi-Academy Trust in 2013. 

The Inspectors praised the school’s ‘extremely rapid improvements over the past two years in all aspects of its work’ and said the leadership and management of the school is ‘outstanding.’ 

The report also praised the partnership with New Hall School and the change to academy status, which it said had delivered ‘outstanding’ benefits for the school. Leaders were complimented for focusing successfully on improving the quality of teaching and pupils’ achievement.

In 2012, having had three outstanding inspections in the previous academic year, New Hall School was approached by the Department for Education and invited to take a pioneering move to sponsor a small primary school in the local area.

Ofsted placed messing-cum-Inworth Primary School, a rural village school in Essex, in special measures in March 2011. Despite making good progress under a new governing body, the governors decided it would be beneficial to apply for academy status to enhance and improve the education of their pupils. To further strengthen the school and ensure it left special measures in the shortest possible time, the governors sought a strong sponsor.

New Hall School has a tradition of engaging professionally with other local schools and was proud to look into setting up an academy trust to sponsor the primary school. After months of discussions and planning, New Hall Multi-Academy Trust was established with Katherine Jeffrey, Principal at New Hall School, as the Chair. Under the Trust, the two schools work in partnership to ensure pupils at Messing receive the best possible education.

Jackie Halliday was appointed as Headteacher in 2012 and was on board when the Academy Order was granted in March 2013. 

At the time, Schools Commissioner, Dr Elizabeth Sidwell CBE said: “I am delighted to be visiting both New Hall School and Messing Primary to celebrate the official signing of this pioneering partnership. I am certain that children from both schools will benefit from this new academy. It is a great opportunity for the schools to work together to raise standards.”

Messing Primary School was launched as an academy in September 2013 with 40 pupils. The partnership means pupils can also access facilities at the independent school, such as the 25-metre indoor swimming pool. They also benefit from the subject specific teachers working with staff from Messing to provide a stimulating and challenging learning environment.

Under the leadership of Katherine Jeffrey and Jackie Halliday, Messing quickly saw improvements in academic progress, teaching methods and management and leadership. These were all areas identified by inspectors as requiring urgent improvement. Many families have seen the benefits of an education at Messing, with good SATS results reported in its centenary year of 2014. The school roll now stands at 61.

Katherine Jeffrey added: “It is wonderful to receive the news of this accolade for Messing Primary School. It always made perfect sense for New Hall School to share its educational expertise to benefit children’s learning and we were proud to be the first independent school to sponsor a primary academy.  This is a fantastic example of how schools can work together in the community, to share professional expertise and resources. A much-loved village primary school has been saved and transformed into a popular, thriving and happy school that offers every child a strong academic foundation and great extra-curricular opportunities. We hope the remarkable success of this school partnership can be an example to others, encouraging similar sponsorship arrangements with the independent sector.”

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