A CHALLENGING year which saw two schools become one has ended with a ringing endorsement from Ofsted inspectors.

New Forest Primary School, in Nomansland, says it is one of only six per cent of schools to get an outstanding rating from the Govern-ment’s schools regulator.

The school, which was formed from the merger of Nomansland and Hamptworth Primary with Landford Primary, was praised for the good quality of teaching and leadership and pupils’ attainment and contribution to the community.

Head teacher Lorraine Pugh said: “Obviously when you bring two schools together, it’s a huge amount of work and also you are bringing two communities together.

“The fact that, despite all that was going on, the children still did well academically, but also the Ofsted inspection that goes into every aspect of school life was outstanding, makes it a great achievement.”

A decision was made to amalgamate the schools, supported by the local authority, as numbers dropped at Landford Primary School to 35 pupils, making it no longer viable.Rather than lose the school, the facilities were joined together last April.

The new school, which caters for 167 four to 11-year-olds, was then split in September, with the Key Stage Two classes run from Nomansland and Key Stage One from Landford.

The inspection, made at the end of last term, commented: “Under the extremely focused and skilled leadership of the head teacher the school has maintained high standards throughout a period of upheaval.

Support “Pupils achieve outstandingly because they enjoy their learning so much.”

Mrs Pugh highlighted the school’s academic performance, sporting achievements and its support of children with learning difficulties, but also its encouragement of young enterprise among its pupils.

Pupils have bought two £500 Rotary International shelter boxes, which provide survival equipment for people devastated by the earthquakes in China, using funds raised by a cake sale.

Mrs Pugh said: “It’s due to very skilled teachers, its supportive parents and it’s the fact that we expect to maintain high standards of behaviour and attitudes to learning and also we aim high – we are not frightened if something’s challenging.

“For a child to achieve there has to be a good, strong partnership between home and school ”

Click to read the Ofsted Report