A school is celebrating after a watchdog recognised its progress.

St Michael’s C of E Primary School in Dalton was inspected by Ofsted earlier this year and a report was published this week.

Inspectors rated the school ‘good’ on behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and early years provision.

However it required improvement on the quality of education.

The overall rating was that the school required improvement, however, headteacher Julie Paisley explained this was due to the way the system worked.

She said: “As a school we are really celebrating the content of the report, so much of what we have achieved has been recognised within that. There’s only one area that we need to work on, but unfortunately that is what is called a limiting judgment and that’s about the wider curriculum, that’s what our action plan in school is centred around.”

The previous Ofsted report in 2017 found the school required improvement in all areas, except for its ‘good’ early years provision. Mrs Paisley, who started as headteacher at the village school just after the 2017 report, said: “The section of the report which is limiting was new to all schools. When Ofsted introduced that they said they would give schools two years to implement it, however we were still judged on it less than a year into that and we felt it was a bit unfair.”

Inspectors said: “Pupils we spoke to told us that the school is like ‘a big happy family’. Pupils feel safe and well cared for. They thrive in a nurturing environment. Pupils are kind to each other and respect people’s differences. Older pupils recognise that behaviour is better than it used to be. Bullying is rare. Pupils say that if it does happen, they tell an adult and it stops. Most parents and guardians agreed with this.

“Pupils enjoy their lessons. They learn well in reading, writing and mathematics because their learning builds on what they already know and can do. Teachers have high expectations of pupils in these subjects. However, pupils’ learning in other subjects is not as well organised. In subjects like history, pupils do not always see the connection between one lesson and the next. Pupils have gaps in their knowledge because their learning is not well ordered.”

The watchdog said the detailed curriculum planning in foundation subjects was not available to teachers and that foundation subject leaders did not yet have the knowledge and skills that they needed to contribute to curriculum improvements.

Mrs Paisley said: “After the 2017 Ofsted, our priority areas needed to be maths and English, we’ve worked tirelessly to improve those and the report reflects that. There’s been a significant improvement in behaviour and welfare of children, we’ve come a long way.”