AN Ilminster school has welcomed planned changes which would see more schools receiving regular Ofsted inspections.

Greenfylde Chard of England First School was ranked ‘outstanding’ in its last inspection.

But that took place in 2009, and since 2012 having the top rank has meant institutions are exempt from further inspections.

Greenfylde’s headteacher, Claire Oaten, has welcoming Ofsted inspectors to see the progress made by the school since 2009, as well as reassuring parents that the school’s work has not been unchecked over the past decade.

She said: “Schools have to continually develop, and as a school we have always been open in our practice and would welcome anyone parents, community and inspectors to see the learning opportunities we offer for our children.

“Since 2009, Greenfylde has looked to strengthen its offer to pupils and families through developing a number of key areas including sport, the arts, STEM, careers and the offer to pupils in receipt of pupil premium funding leading to our national Government award in 2016.”

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Greenfylde is just one of 26 schools and colleges across the county rated as ‘outstanding’ which have been enjoying their exemption from inspections.

Under proposals put out for consultation on January 10, these schools would receive an Ofsted at some point in the the next five academic years.

Miss Oaten added: “As a Church of England school there is no exemption from their inspection which closely mirrors a significant content of the Ofsted inspections.

“Greenfylde achieved ‘outstanding’ in 2014 and as recently as May 2019 was the the first school in the deanery to achieve the top excellent rating from SIAMS under their new more stringent framework.”

SIAMS is the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools.

Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman said Ofsted has long argued the exemption has ‘served its purpose’ and ‘needs to go’.

Around 3,700 state schools and colleges in England will be affected by the change, the Department for Education said.

Greenfylde’s headteacher added: “Children have one chance at their education and our inclusive ethos supports our pupils in building their self esteem and love of learning through engaging in a wide range of activities both within the school and in the wider community.

“Our academic results are above national, and Somerset averages, and regardless of the outcome of this consultation we will continue in our quest to develop our curriculum offer to the benefit of our pupils.”