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Cllr Kamaljit Nagpal at a table with 6 pupils from Hobbayne Primary School

Dramatic turnaround transforms Hobbayne

While the borough currently stands proudly with 98% of its schools rated Good or Outstanding by OFSTED; the journey of Hobbayne Primary School in Hanwell tells a dramatic turnaround story of the dedication and hard work of teachers, parents and the children, to make huge improvements amidst a global pandemic .

Headteacher Sharmaine Yoosuf and her deputy, Isabelle Tolan, started working at the school in September 2017 and inherited a school that had just been graded as ‘requires improvement’ at the end of the previous term.

Mrs Yoosuf said: “We had parents who had just started their children in reception at a school that was previously rated Good, so when the ‘requires improvement’ rating came in, it was hard for everyone. We had to really earn their trust as a new team. If it wasn’t enough that the school had to navigate through the challenges during the pandemic, we had the additional scrutiny of monitoring visits from Ofsted. We were also informed that our inspection would be put on hold due to the back log caused by COVID. We had to live with this rating far longer than we should have.

‘Been on this journey together’

“But what’s really amazing is that the teaching staff stayed, despite the judgement, and we have all been on this journey together. Our parents are very loyal to the school and have been a huge part of the really strong community that it continues to be.

“The children that you see in year 6 today were in reception class when we got the rating. They’ve lived through the pandemic where we were delivering food parcels home, they were doing virtual learning and then had to adapt to getting back into the classroom, having missed so much. Of course, the curriculum is important because its subject knowledge and skills but what has Covid taught us? It taught us how important it is that our children have a voice, so they can tell us if they are struggling, if they’re excited or when we are getting something wrong. That’s something we’ve worked really hard at.”

Ofsted recognised the high priority given by leaders to develop pupils’ strength of character and broader development and praised the way the school’s values are interwoven through the curriculum and the attitudes towards learning the pupils demonstrated. Inspectors also noted; “pupils are polite and helpful, showing high levels of respect towards each other. They accept responsibility for managing their own conduct. As a result, behaviour is exemplary,” which secured an outstanding rating in behaviour and attitudes.

‘It makes me feel really proud’

Grace aged 10, said: “The teachers at Hobbayne really make the classroom feel like a second home, they take care of you.”

Albie, aged 10, added: “I feel like my teachers have really prepared me for leaving school, going into Year 7 and going into the world. When people ask me to talk about my school it makes me feel really proud.” .

Ofsted recognised that the pupils appreciate the opportunities to take on extra responsibilities and the children know that school leaders value their opinions and contributions. Consequently, Ofsted found the children feel part of the school and any decisions that are made.

Headteacher Sharmaine Yoosuf continued: “This is their school, over 100 children met with the Ofsted inspectors when the time finally came for our next inspection. In fact, one of our children actually challenged an inspector asking ‘why would we want everything to be 100% perfect, you can’t learn anything if everything is perfect’, the inspectors said that they had never had a response like that before from a child.”

She concluded: “While our Good rating is definitely something to celebrate and we are focused on getting Outstanding next time, for us watching those year 6 children leave us in a few months, as the incredible young people that they are, despite everything they have lived through; that is the biggest accolade for us as a school team. They are amazing.”

Best results in the country

Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for a fairer start, said: “What this school community have achieved is truly incredible. Not just receiving the Good Ofsted rating but holding each other through such a challenging time and coming out of it so much stronger. This is why I’m so proud of Ealing’s schools, we have some of the best results in the country across the board but most importantly the wellbeing of our pupils, teachers and school staff is always our top priority. The children I met at Hobbayne were incredible, so confident and able to advocate for themselves – I’m sure one of them will be doing my job in the future!”

The school’s leaders are ambitious and continuing to build on their successes such as the expansion of 30 hours’ nursery provision and being fortunate enough to be in the unique position of being the only primary school in the borough that is  able to teach part of the curriculum in the tiny forest setting.

Read more on the planting of the tiny forest.

Find all OFSTED reports online.

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