How a Saltley primary school in Special Measures has dramatically turned around

Parents tell Ofsted inspectors that Nansen Primary School is “the best it’s ever been” after it turns around performance following Trojan Horse affair

A Birmingham primary school placed in Special Measures less than three years ago has been dramatically turned around – with parents telling Ofsted that it is “the best it’s ever been”.

Nansen Primary School, part of Leigh Trust for only two years, has been rated a Good school in every area, with Ofsted inspectors saying the school has been “transformed” by the trust and the headteacher and her team, who have been “relentless in their quest to get the school back on track”.

Ofsted highlighted that pupils from all backgrounds and abilities are “welcomed with open arms” and that staff have high expectations for the children. The progress has been achieved while school leaders have also reduced teacher workload.

The progress has been achieved almost entirely while the country has lived through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has presented such challenges to schools. Leigh Trust took Nansen Primary on just a few weeks after the UK was placed into the first lockdown in March 2020, with all schools in England being closed by the Government.

Nansen Primary School was also one of several schools in Birmingham that were investigated as part of the Trojan Horse affair, which began in 2014. The school was part of the Park View Trust at the time and later transferred to a new academy but was rated Inadequate in September 2019 before it joined Leigh Trust.

Nansen Primary School, Saltley

What does the latest Ofsted report say about Nansen Primary School?

In the report published today (May 11), Ofsted says pupils visit different places of worship to learn about other cultures and beliefs. They have a strong understanding of fundamental British values as they align closely with the school’s values. Inspectors added that leaders ensure that the opportunities provided prepare pupils for the next stage of their education and life in modern Britain.

Throughout the report, inspectors praised a wide range of positive areas of school life, including that:

  • Pupils have positive attitudes to learning and behave well in lessons. 
  • School leaders have instilled high expectations in the pupils, which has led to them trying their best and working hard to make their teachers proud. 
  • The school now has an ambitious and well-sequenced curriculum including in the early years. Staff at the school build children’s early skills well and focus on instilling a love of learning. 
  • Staff have strong subject knowledge.
  • The teaching of early reading was also highlighted as a strength of the school. The school has ensured that the right processes are in place so pupils make “remarkable” progress in their reading. 
  • The school is inclusive and provides tailored support for disadvantaged pupils and those with special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND). 
Nansen Primary School in Birmingham was one of three schools inspected as part of the "Trojan Horse" investigations and placed in special measures

What has the school said about the Ofsted report?

Nanaki Bajwa, Headteacher at Nansen Primary School, said: “Today’s Ofsted report and the rating of Good is a testament to all members of the Nansen Primary School community – the hard-working staff, supportive parents and of course our brilliant pupils.

“I also want to say thank you Leigh Trust, which has been hugely supportive as we have taken the school forward.

“It has been a real team effort and I am so proud of everyone who has helped us achieve such a glowing report. The challenge now is to keep improving the school so that it becomes even better, and I am very excited by that prospect.”

Julie Greenwood, CEO of Leigh Trust, said: “I want to offer my warmest congratulations to the team at Nansen Primary School for this overwhelmingly positive report. It is so well deserved.

“The report is clear that the school has made significant strides forward since September 2019 – and this is even more impressive when one considers that it has been achieved in spite of lockdowns, school closures and so many other challenges that the pandemic presented. It has been a superb effort and Nanaki and her team are right to be delighted.”

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