A SMALL rural school placed in special measures last year is on the road to improvement, according to inspectors.

Pamphill First School near Wimborne was rated Inadequate in every category when Ofsted inspectors visited in May 2019.

Since then a new leadership team has been appointed and inspectors who made a return visit last term said things are getting better.

The recent monitoring report from Ofsted inspectors said the school is taking effective action towards the removal of special measures, has made safeguarding effective, the new head is ensuring there is no let-up in progress and parents are very supportive of the school.

Parents have helped to create the school's first outdoor area for Reception children.

Head of school, Rachael Oliver, said: “It has been a real honour to join Pamphill First School, it is a very special community indeed.

“The warm welcome I have received from staff, children and parents has made me feel very much at home - we’re all working together and supporting each other to achieve the very best for our children.

“I soon got to see just how special the community was when parents gave up their time and donated equipment so we could create a brand new extensive outdoor area for our youngest pupils.”

Ofsted highlighted the school’s new Early Years outdoor learning area as one of the major improvements.

Pamphill also recently launched a Forest School, which takes place in the surrounding National Trust land.

Parent and architect Sean Daly was one of the parents who helped build the Early Years area. He said: “I was delighted to help create the external Early Years area at Pamphill, which will make a big difference for each child's education.

“There is such an energy at the school now and a real sense that everyone is pulling together to create a wonderful learning environment.”

And mum Zoe King, whose son is in Reception, added: “It was important to us to support the school and be an active part of that community.

“The area will give the children new and unique opportunities for outdoor exploration and play, which we feel is so valuable in the early years.”

In her letter to the school, Ofsted inspector Kathy Maddocks wrote: “Pupils have many rich experiences beyond academic work. There are sports clubs, a gardening club and a school choir, which many pupils attend.

“During the inspection, pupils were working on business initiatives related to their school work.

“Leaders have raised the expectations of pupils and staff. Pupils are now working at a level suitable for their age.”