Staff and pupils at Woodlands Primary School on Norton Avenue, Sheffield (formerly Valley Park Primary School), are today celebrating the news that Ofsted has judged the primary and nursery to be ‘Good’ in all areas.
The transformation of Woodlands, previously rated ‘Requires Improvement’ by Ofsted in 2018, began in January 2021 when Mercia Learning Trust appointed a new headteacher with a powerful vision for its future and steadfast commitment to improve the school.
Lauren Johnstone comments,
“I was looking for a headship in a school requiring improvement as I knew I had the determination and skills to completely transform a school for the benefit of the pupils and community. It doesn’t matter where a school is geographically located or what the history of the school is; there was no reason why this school could not improve if the team was fully committed and had the support and resources necessary.”
With substantial support from Mercia Learning Trust, Lauren Johnstone and her team made a massive investment in the learning and physical environment, drawing on safeguarding, SEND, school improvement and central team expertise from across the trust. Following the inspection of the school, Lauren commented:
“This ‘Good’ judgement has truly been a team achievement. The herculean efforts of my staff have paid dividends, and finally we have a school our children deserve and can be proud of.”
Over recent months, Woodlands Primary has experienced a marked increase in interest from local families. As such, demand has dramatically increased, and some year groups already have waiting lists in place.
Louise Haigh MP for Sheffield Heeley said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that Ofsted had inspected Woodlands Primary School and provided them with a Good rating. This is a testament to the hard work of all the staff, children and parents who have been working together for the school and the local community.
“The school has really transformed in recent months and years and has received this rating because they put the needs of the children first.
“I know, that with this new rating, they will go from strength to strength. Congratulations to all involved.”
To mark the name-change and new era at Woodlands, every child in the school has this fortnight been involved in planting a tree or plant on site. With the help of Sheffield City Council’s parks department, the school field is being transformed with an additional 350+ trees to further develop the school site and forest school provision, as well as giving back to nature and the environment.