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Portland Spencer Academy achieves first ever “Outstanding” rating from Ofsted

Inspectors rated the school “Outstanding” across all five categories, citing its “unwavering ambition” and “respectful relationships”.

Portland Spencer Academy has been rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted for the first time in its history, having previously held a rating of “Good”.

The report praises the effective implementation of Portland Spencer’s “ASPIRE” values and reward system, and emphasises that “the school values and the actions of staff help pupils to learn to respect others because it is the right thing to do, not simply to gain a reward”. Inspectors describe the environment as “calm and orderly”, in which children “develop respectful relationships with one another and with staff”.

Portland Spencer’s inclusive environment is evident throughout the report. Inspectors praise the “highly inclusive school” and note, “Pupils with SEND are expertly supported to learn the curriculum.” They further state, “The school works tirelessly to create the conditions for all pupils and staff to be successful.”

The individualised support that students receive from staff across all areas of learning is a recurring theme throughout. Regarding literacy, inspectors wrote, “Well-trained staff provide expert support to those at the earliest stages of reading. Pupils who need extra help are quickly identified and receive precise support.” They also celebrate the school’s robust framework for addressing behavioural needs: “Pupils who need extra help to manage their behaviour benefit from personalised support.”

Within Portland Spencer Academy’s nurturing environment, curriculum is “ambitious and intelligently designed”. Inspectors praised teachers’ implementation thereof: “Teachers make lessons interesting and accessible. They check for, and quickly address, any misconceptions. Teachers regularly reflect on how to adapt their teaching based on pupils’ strengths and areas for development. This helps to ensure that their teaching enables all pupils to learn new concepts thoroughly.”

The report concludes with acknowledgement of the excellent personal development that children experience. “The highly effective programme for pupils’ personal development helps pupils to understand themselves and the world around them. . . They are very well prepared for their next steps when they leave the school.” ­­

CEO Paul West said, “Portland Spencer Academy is a flagship primary school at the heart of the community which it serves. Everyone connected with the school should feel rightly proud that it has officially been judged outstanding. The inspection report reflects the work of a dedicated staff team, a supportive and close-knit community and importantly recognises that children attending the school are happy and high achieving.”

Executive Principal Kate Green said, “We are so unbelievably proud of the journey the school has gone on to achieve this ‘Outstanding’ judgement. It is a product of many years of inspiring and dedicated work from the whole Portland team and we are over the moon that the contribution of each and every member of our community has been recognised. This judgement will inspire all of our children to continue to ASPIRE in all that they do.”

Head of School Joe Handy said, “We have always been driven by the desire to deliver the best possible opportunities and outcomes for our children, so to be recognised in this way has been truly humbling and exciting. I am proud of everything the children have achieved and equally proud of the hard work of our school team.”

Director of Primary Education Angela O’Brien, OBE said, “We are so proud to see the Portland Spencer team’s pupils love of learning reflected in this report. As one of the earliest schools to join Spencer Academies Trust, this inspection highlights the relentless focus, dedication and commitment for all pupils that has been in place for many years. It is a very special place.”