EALING.NEWS speaks to Des Lee, headteacher of Featherstone Primary and Nursery School in Southall which recently received a very positive report from The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) who gave the school a Good grade.
Following a visit by Ofsted inspectors on 9 and 10 November 2022, the Good report was released on 13 January 2023 and revealed that had Ofsted visited for a graded inspection, it could have been rated as Outstanding.
The inspectors said: “Featherstone Primary and Nursery School continues to be a good school. There is enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding if we were to carry out a graded (section 5) inspection now. The school’s next inspection will be a graded inspection.”
EALING.NEWS spoke to headteacher Des Lee about the school, future plans, the Ofsted report and challenges it faces.
When did you become headteacher and what are you most proud of since becoming head?
I became headteacher in September 2015. I am most proud of creating a caring school where the happiness, wellbeing and mental health of our children and our all our staff are highly valued and prioritised. We achieved the WAS Award (Wellbeing Award for Schools) in recognition of our commitment to promoting the emotional wellbeing and positive mental health of our children and our staff.
What do you consider makes your school work so well?
We are a team and all our success is due to our collective teamwork and the strength of our relationships. Every single member of staff, all our children, our governors, parents/carers and all our families share, live and breathe and work relentlessly towards achieving the same vision and values. We are a real team and we all care about each other.
What plans do you have to grow the school further?
To prepare our children for the future and for the world of work, raising the aspirations of our children and our families to help them believe that they can all achieve anything they want by encouraging them to think about future jobs early, whilst nurturing aspirations and challenging stereotypes.
To promote and put children’s rights at the heart of everything that we do and to achieve the UNICEF Gold Rights Respecting School Award.
What does it mean to your personally to get this report and is this the first time you have achieved such success?
For me personally, I am happy that all the hard work, talent and dedication of all my amazing staff have been recognised by Ofsted.
The previous report in 2017 was also a Good outcome, but this is the first time that our school has been recognised as Good, with the potential to be judged as outstanding if Ofsted were to carry out a full graded (section 5) inspection now.
What is the main challenge you face and how do you overcome it?
The main challenge at the moment is a very high and increasing number of pupils with special, complex or additional needs with insufficient local and national funding and support coupled with a severe shortage of places in local special schools or other specialist provision which could potentially meet those pupils’ needs even more effectively than a mainstream school.
How we overcome them:
We train and upskill all teaching staff to manage, teach and support these pupils as effectively as possible with limited funding and resources available. We work closely and effectively with our parents and with professionals from external agencies.