Katesgrove and Southcote Schools Move Closer Together

TWO Reading primary schools have formally come together under one governing body. Katesgrove Primary and Southcote Primary have federated after more than two years of close co-operation. Lisa Telling was appointed Executive Headteacher of Katesgrove in September 2015 while she was Head of Southcote. Both schools have since worked closely together and have now formalised their links by disbanding their individual governing bodies and forming a new single over-arching governing body. Lynda Miller was appointed Chair of Governors at a business meeting earlier this month which ensured all statutory items needed by the new Governing Body were in place and to determine committee membership. The federation comes just weeks after both schools were inspected by Ofsted and received ‘Good’ judgements. Katesgrove recently maintained its ‘Good’ Ofted status after a two-day inspection in November last year. Mrs Telling was praised for providing “outstanding leadership” and for leading significant improvements in the education and care of all pupils since her arrival. The report says: “Her energy and passion are infectious and she is highly respected by all within the school’s community. It continues: “She runs a very happy school and staff morale is high. Pupils want to come to school to learn and families know that, once their children are at school, they are safe, nurtured and well educated.” Pupils come from a wide range of minority ethnic backgrounds and 69 per cent speak English as a second language. Inspectors say the school promotes fundamental British values consistently and pupils are very respectful of one another and have friendships across ethnic, religious, social and cultural boundaries. They say: “Pupils are well prepared for life in modern Britain.” The report says good support from Reading Borough Council has been instrumental in ensuring the school has strong leaders and good teachers to provide high-quality education and care for all pupils. Governors are praised for knowing their school well and supporting the school through a period of considerable change. Quality of teaching, learning and assessment is judged as ‘Good’ with the outcomes for all groups of pupils improving significantly. Pupils take pride in their work and are very keen to talk about it. Inspectors found that disadvantaged pupils and those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities are well supported and the majority make good progress because of high-quality support and challenge in all lessons. Children in the Nursery and Reception classes receive a good start to their education with most making good progress and a majority reaching a good level of development, including the most able, the disadvantaged and those children who speak English as an additional language. In November Southcote Primary received its first short Ofsted inspection since the school was judged to be ‘Good’ in 2012. The inspector found the school continues to be ‘Good’. He also praised Mrs Telling for her “relentless drive, enthusiasm and dedication to ensure that Southcote is a successful school” and said leaders across the school ensure the learning environment engages and inspires pupils. The governing body also demonstrates strong leadership and takes an active role in holding school leaders to account for pupils’ progress. The inspector found pupils to be very well-behaved, motivated and keen to do well and parents to be very supportive of the school. Reading Borough Council supports the school very well, including providing a range of professional development to staff and working with partner schools to share best practice. The report says the safety and welfare of all pupils has a high profile at Southcote and that safeguarding is effective.

Cllr Tony Jones, Lead Councillor for Education, said:

“This is a very exciting time for Katesgrove and Southcote Primary Schools as they both come together to deliver first class education for their pupils.

“I would like to congratulate both schools for their ‘Good’ judgements following their recent Ofsted inspections and particularly Executive Headteacher Lisa Telling for her inspirational leadership. “With both schools working closely together I believe they can look forward to a bright and successful future as they continue to serve their local communities superbly.”

Lisa Telling, Executive Headteacher of Katesgrove and Southcote Primary Schools, said:

“I am delighted that both schools have been recognised as good by Ofsted just prior to the Federation forming. “This is a really exciting time for pupils, their families, our staff and governors and I am keen to see the opportunities that this formal collaboration will enable, whilst ensuring we continue to provide the education that every child deserves.”

Lynda Miller, Chair of Governors, said:

“First of all I would like to congratulate everyone involved with both Katesgrove and Southcote Primary schools on their highly successful Ofsted inspections last year. I am very excited to be involved in this new Federation of two Good schools. “The newly formed Governing Body will be working closely with Executive Headteacher Lisa Telling to make innovative long term strategic plans, taking advantage of the benefits of being part of a Federation.”

Notes to Editors

The Katesgrove Primary Ofsted report can be found at: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/109920 The Southcote Primary Ofsted report can be found at: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/109795