In the paper, Freedom to Lead, Ofsted identified 10 basic tenets that result in outstanding primary schools.
- There is the belief that ALL children CAN succeed.These schools have a no excuses attitude coupled with high expectations. Of course, it is essential to ensure teachers are equipped in delivering high quality instructions so that children can achieve.
- Background should not limit outcome: I’ve been in schools where the estate they are on is an excuse for poor results; rather, it should be a reason for the highest results.
- Primary schools that determine life chances. These schools fundamentally teach the fundamentals well. However, they also go beyond that and teach other necessary basic skills effectively to ensure there is clear progression.
- Do the right things well. It is easy to get side-tracked. Primary schools need to keep teaching and learning the ‘main thing’.
- Majority of teaching is Good to Outstanding. This is possible through high quality staff development.
- Teaching which focuses on precision (clear learning goals), AfL (teachers and children knowing where they are on their learning journey) and stretching all pupils (encouraging mastery mindsets)
- The leadership never settles for second best and is always focusing on school improvement. Although it is important for school leaders to boast about their schools, this should never be at the detriment of the school.
- School leaders teach. This shows that you are keeping the main thing the main thing. It also shows that the most important thing in a school happens in the classroom.
- These schools encourage support for growth. Put simply: they develop their staff and the staff of nearby schools. These schools could be characteristic of teacher training or as National Support Schools.
- The curriculum has both creativity and curiosity at its center. These schools are able to transform any learning objective into the most incredible learning experience.