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Crawley primary school to become academy

By Crawley News  |  Posted: May 23, 2013

By Chris Ballinger

  • IMPROVING FAST: Pupils at The Mill Primary. Pictured (from left) are Aleena Ahmed, Alice Tobin, Aaliyah Kaufie and Emily King

  • IMPROVING FAST: Head Leila Murray with some of her pupils

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A PRIMARY school which last year came under fire from Ofsted has announced it is becoming an academy.

The news comes as a follow-up inspection found that The Mill Primary is "improving fast" after its previous poor assessment.

From September the Ifield primary will become the eighth school in Crawley to become part of The Kemnal Academies Trust.

Head teacher Leila Murray said the impressive progress being made at other schools within the group convinced The Mill to make the switch.

She said: "We made contact with the trust after witnessing the good impression it has made on the Crawley schools which have already converted. These schools have a close working relationship together and pass on positive ideas to each other.

"I think we can benefit and also help these other schools at the same time.

"The Kemnal Trust has a track record in investing in teachers and their training. We want to develop our staff to their highest potential."

Mrs Murray says the school shares the "same ethos and approach" to teaching as the trust.

"Becoming an academy should also give us greater control and freedom over our school budget," she said, while adding that the school's uniform, school day and term dates will not change.

The decision comes as the school celebrates the impressive progress noted by Ofsted after a one-day inspection last month.

This visit was on the back of an inspection last year that rated the school as inadequate and another in January which gave the school an overall rating of "requires improvement".

In her report after the follow-up inspection, Melanie Knowles said the pace of change and improvement has been fast.

The quality of teaching, including marking in particular, was also judged to have improved.

Pupils also told the inspector they now enjoy lessons more.

Head teacher Leila Murray said: "We know that 'requiring improvement', or 'satisfactory' as it used to be categorised, is not good enough.

"We are working towards all pupils achieving a good level and pushing the more able on even further. We want to provide an enriching education to stretch them.

"We have a rigorous marking schedule here and this is helping us to take that next step.

"Our goal is to be judged as a 'good' school by September 2014."

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