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Twenty outstanding primary schools - excelling against the odds in challenging circumstances

An Ofsted report published today (2 October 2009) showcases 20 primary schools in very challenging circumstances that have been rated 'outstanding' at least twice. It is written for all primary schools to use and help them achieve success.

The 20 schools, from across England, defy the association of disadvantage with low standards. They serve communities where pupils come from poorer urban backgrounds and an above average proportion receives free school meals.

Through their passion and professionalism these schools provide great service to children and young people. They show other schools how they can reduce the achievement gap between pupils from different backgrounds.

Christine Gilbert

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector

Twenty outstanding primary schools - Excelling against the odds shows they succeed by having the highest expectations for every pupil and staff member. It follows a similar report launched earlier this year that looked at the ingredients that lead to outstanding secondary schools.

Key characteristics

Twenty outstanding primary schools identifies 20 schools that do make a difference.

In what ways?

The following characteristics revealed themselves during visits to the schools.

  • They provide affection, stability and a purposeful and structured experience.
  • They build – and often rebuild – children’s self-belief.
  • They teach children the things they really need to know and show them how to learn for themselves and with others.
  • They give them opportunities, responsibility and trust in an environment which is both stimulating and humanising.
  • They listen to their pupils, value their views and reflect and act on what they say.
  • They build bridges with parents, families and communities, working in partnership with other professionals.
  • They ensure their pupils progress as fast as possible and achieve as much as possible (outperforming both similar schools and many with fewer challenges).
  • In short, they put the child at the centre of everything they do, and high aspirations, expectations and achievement underpin the schools’ work.

Visit page two for pictures, more reading and links to each school's inspection report

Read the press release