AN ORDINARY school doing extraordinary things is how inspectors have described Fairchildes Primary School after awarding it "outstanding" status in its latest Ofsted report.
And expressing her pride in the New Addington school's success, head teacher Ros Sandell said it was very much down to the team effort of pupils, staff and parents.
In moving up from "good" to "outstanding" Fairchildes gained the top status in all four elements of the inspectors' report – achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and management.
In glowing terms, the inspectors said: "The school's success is due to its strong focus on the needs of each pupil so that none is left behind.
"This is reflected in the strong leadership provided by the head teacher and the leadership team, as well as the governors who ensure the needs of every child are met."
The inspectors added: "Most teaching is outstanding and never less than good. Teachers provide activities and experiences which are fun, practical and inspiring."
The school also received praise for Year 6 pupils who do better in maths and English than their peers nationally; the excellent progress of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs who receive specialist teaching and support for the school's ambitions from parents and carers.
The report does suggest that more work needs to be done to improve pupils' writing skills in subjects other than English and maths.
Miss Sandell said there was a great enthusiasm for writing but staff were now working on translating the skills demonstrated in English classes to increasing the accuracy and fluency of work produced for the full range of subjects taught at the school.
Miss Sandell, who has been head of the 500-pupil school for eight years, said: "I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved.
"Our staff are magnificent and this has been a team effort."
Miss Sandell explained that one of the criticisms of the school in previous reports had been the attendance levels of pupils but this problem had been reversed and now over 96 per cent of the children were in school every day.
Much of that improvement was down, she said, to building up a stronger relationship between the school and parents, many of whom may have had unhappy experiences in their school days.
Miss Sandell said: "We wanted to make sure that parents knew how important it was for their children to come to school and they could see that by coming in themselves and working with us.
"There is nothing judgmental in our approach and we never apportion blame – it is about finding solutions."
She added: "The key for the children is to make learning fun and exciting and energise them so that they go into every class keen to learn. That is huge."