Joining only a small group of schools from across Wales, Heronsbridge School is one of just two schools in Bridgend County Borough, to succeed in not needing any recommendations during a recent Estyn inspection.
The sterling Estyn report spotlights the array of strengths demonstrated by the school, ranging from the positive behaviour of pupils and their highly effective attitudes to learning, to the excellent leadership and management of Heronsbridge School.
Staff are praised for their strong working relationships with pupils, their exceptional management of learners’ differing needs, as well as the use of robust assessments to monitor progress to inform the curriculum.
The report also highlights how pupils are offered valuable opportunities to develop incidental Welsh language skills, with Welsh being interwoven throughout the school day by daily greetings, songs and key phrases.
Communication between home and school is another noted strength, with parents or carers being well informed about their child’s progress and achievements through home to school diaries, phone calls, meetings, as well as detailed annual school reports.
For the last academic year, attendance at the school was higher than the all-Wales average – this has been highlighted by Estyn as a notable strength in a school where pupil attendance rates are impacted by learners’ complex medical needs. This achievement is attributed to leaders closely tracking a range of information about pupils, including attendance and behaviour.
Part of a pilot for schools as learning organisations (SLO), Heronsbridge School illustrates the SLO model with its school improvement processes, its values, as well as the commitment of leaders and staff to continually improve as an organisation. The professional development of staff is prioritised, and Estyn has invited the school to prepare a case study on its work in relation to professional learning, and another on the curriculum, for dissemination on Estyn’s website.
Headteacher Jeremy Evans
Headteacher, Jeremy Evans, and Chair of Governors, Mari Major MBE, have offered a joint comment in relation to the glowing inspection report: “We are delighted with Estyn’s findings during our recent inspection and feel that the report is a truly accurate account of Heronsbridge School. The inspection team managed to capture the essence of ‘Together We Can’ at Heronsbridge, and how we live and breathe our school values.
“We are particularly pleased with the recognition that our pupils are happy, safe and enjoy coming to school, and that we have highly motivated and passionate staff who know and understand the needs of pupils extremely well.”
Mari added: “As Chair of Governors at Heronsbridge, I would like to thank the headteacher, the senior leadership team and all staff, for always ensuring that our pupils are placed at the heart of their work. Our parents and families can feel rightly proud that their child is an important part of this wonderful school community.
“This outstanding report is built on a solid foundation of success, and we will continue to endeavour to maintain the excellent progress our pupils make, ensuring that they are well prepared for the next chapter of their lives – whenever, whatever, and wherever that may be. ‘We give them wings; our herons will fly’.”
Cabinet Member for Education, Jon-Paul Blundell, said: “What an outstanding Estyn report reflecting the commitment, dedication and enthusiasm demonstrated by staff, all contributing to the superb success of the school. You should be extremely proud! Well done all, a fantastic achievement!”