From special measures to top of the class – the story of Ernesettle Community Primary’s success

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Staff, governors, pupils and parents at Ernesettle Community Primary School are celebrating after it was rated 136th out of more than 16,000 primary schools in the country.

The prestigious rating came in Britain’s Top Schools List published by The Times newspaper.

The rating was based on the achievements and progress of pupils at the end of Key Stage 2, when the children reach the age of 11.

The Times accolade is the latest in a long list of awards achieved by Ernesettle Community Primary – which was threatened with closure just eight years ago because of its poor performance.

The school … is now consistently oversubscribed

The turnaround came with the arrival in 2010 of headteacher Aaron Meredith, who has transformed the school’s performance and achievements.

Since he took over the helm, the school has for the last three years been rated in the Daily Telegraph’s Top 1000 primary schools and has also been a regional winner of the Pupil Premium Awards.

Earlier this year it was rated in the top 10 percent of all schools nationally in reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2.

And the school has also been named as a National Support School by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.  In turn Mr Meredith is designated as a National Leader in Education, which means he helps other schools to improve their performance and achievement levels.

Headteacher Aaron MeredithSpeaking of The Times accolade, he said:

“Naturally we are all delighted to have been ranked at such a high level across the country as a whole.

“It is the result of a fantastic team effort by my 75-strong staff team, supported by the governors, pupils and parents.  We are all extremely proud.”

He said that the school’s success was the result of hard work and a total commitment to improving the life prospects of children at Ernesettle.

“We have worked hard to improve the confidence and abilities of our pupils – as well as giving them a view of the world outside school,” he added.

He said that despite all the accolades, the most gratifying news he had received recently came from one of Plymouth’s secondary schools where 15 of his former pupils had completed their A levels earlier this year.

“They were pupils here when I arrived and although they moved on to secondary school not long after, what they have achieved has been so rewarding,” added Aaron.

“Of the 15, eight have moved into higher education at universities not only in Plymouth, but also in other universities up and down the country.  The other seven all have full time jobs. It is a real testament to their confidence and hard work.”

“Historically Ernesettle was one of the lowest wards in the country in terms of local youngsters getting to university.  Hopefully the success of our former pupils will help change that situation.”

The school, which has 500 pupils aged between two and 11, is now consistently oversubscribed – despite being in special measures a decade ago.

“It is disappointing having to turn children away, but I’m pleased to say that we are in the process of introducing some new plans which will enable us to increase the intake in future,” added Mr Meredith.

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