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It's official! St John's Primary School celebrates transformation

Date: 11 October 2016

St John's Dorking Oct 16 pic2Just days after Dorking’s St John’s CofE Primary School was placed in the country’s top five per cent for progress in writing, Ofsted has confirmed the academy’s remarkable transformation by declaring it ‘Good’ in all areas.

The judgement officially puts an end to the school’s turbulent recent history which saw it being led by nine headteachers in the past nine years.

It was after an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted judgement in 2013, when inspectors criticised the school for pupils’ lack of progress and poor attendance, that it became an academy with the Diocese of Guildford’s multi-academy trust, The Good Shepherd Trust.

Now, inspectors who visited the school in September, have praised the achievement throughout the school saying that ‘almost all pupils are making more progress than expected’ and ‘attendance has improved significantly’.

It's all good!

The report recognises the ‘rapid action’ taken by headteacher, Mark Richards, who joined the academy in April 2015, saying: ‘Since his arrival there has been a significant turnaround in the school’s effectiveness. Consequently, teaching and outcomes have improved and are now good.’

The report praises the school’s 206 ‘well-mannered and polite’ pupils commenting that ‘behaviour is almost always good and sometimes better’ and that ‘pupils show respect to and support for, each other’.

Mark Richards said: “I feel proud and privileged to lead a team of dedicated and enthusiastic staff and governors, who work tirelessly and passionately for the children of St John’s.

“Our children are a credit to us and I can’t express in words how proud they make me feel on a daily basis.

"St John's is wonderful place to work and learn and has the potential to be ‘Outstanding’. I very much look forward to the next chapter in St John's exciting history."

Chief executive officer of The Good Shepherd Trust, Dr Peter Simpson, said: “St John’s has been on an incredible journey.

“The last 18 months in particular have been a joy to watch. The children are proud of their school and there is a real sense of enjoyment and achievement.

“I thank all those working with St John’s; whether new to the school or those who have dedicated years to supporting the children and young people. I give special thanks to headteacher,  Mark Richards, whose role has been pivotal in making St John’s a good school.

“The children and families at St John’s deserve the very best and  they are now well on the way to getting it.”

New Government data published on 1 September 2016 places St John’s in the top five per cent of schools for progress in writing and in the top 25 per cent for progress in reading and maths.

The Good Shepherd Trust, which currently supports eight academies across the diocese, was ranked 17th out of 218 local authorities and academy trusts in league tables published in July based on pupils’ outcomes.


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  1. cindy vaughan-birch | Oct 13, 2016
    Always knew the school could get there with the right head and staff comited to the children's needs, its a great place to be
  2. Anne Hossack | Oct 12, 2016

    What superb news. As a past teacher it has been sad to see the turbulent times at St Johns in the recent past . Very many congratulations to the whole team for their confidence in the future of the school and dedication to the children at the school

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