Ofsted inspectors have praised the progress made by a Cornish primary school, despite continuing to rate it as requiring improvement at this time.

While giving Mullion Primary School the same overall rating as on its last inspection 2020, there have been improvements in some areas – notably ‘behaviour and attitudes’, and ‘personal development’, which have both risen to ‘good’ from the previous ‘requires improvement’.

Its early years offering – the only element to be marked ‘good’ last time – has maintained that standard. The latest inspection was carried out on December 6 and 7 last year, just three months after the arrival of new headteacher Rob Chirgwin in September 2023.

The school transferred to the Truro & Penwith Academy Trust in January of that year, having previously been part of the Southerly Point Co-operative Multi-Academy Trust that has since closed.

It was previously rated as ‘requires improvement’ in 2020, on its first inspection since converting to an academy and joining the former trust in 2017.

Prior to that it received a rating of ‘good’ in all areas in 2015, while still as Mullion Community Primary School.

The school told the Packet that Mullion Primary was “on a rapid journey of positive change,” adding that despite it being less than a year since the school joined Truro and Penwith Academy Trust, Ofsted inspectors recognised that the school had “started to improve quickly.”

Inspectors have reported: “Mullion Primary is a school that has changed for the better recently. It is a happy, warm and welcoming place.

“Strong relationships between pupils and staff are prevalent throughout. Pupils enjoy coming to school. They reflect this in their improved attendance.”

New headteacher Rob Chirgwin welcomed these findings by inspectors, saying: “I am delighted that all the hard work by the Trust and school staff has been acknowledged through the evidence gathered during the recent inspection process.

“I am so proud to be headteacher at Mullion Primary and, since joining the school in the autumn, the support received from our families for our whole staff team has been fabulous.

“I feel extremely excited for our future and look forward to continuing to serve our Mullion community in our next phase of improvement."

The most recent report, published on January 23 this year, states: “Following the previous inspection, the school declined further. Staff turnover meant that pupils had a disjointed education.

“Pupils experienced a weak curriculum and did not learn well. Some pupils’ behaviour was poor. Parental confidence in the school fell.

“Under the new trust, the school has started to improve quickly. The recently appointed headteacher has driven this through his methodical and tenacious leadership. He has gained the trust of pupils, staff, and parents and carers.

“The school and the trust know precisely where the school is on its improvement journey. This is helping to tackle the legacy of underachievement. As one governor described it, ‘We are building the foundations’.”

Inspectors also noted that: “New leaders recognise that there is more work to do to improve the quality of education. They have made many positive changes.

“Pupils have started to learn more than in the past. Nevertheless, it is too early to see the impact of this work in pupils’ outcomes over time.”

They highlighted the school’s new behaviour policy, saying that in lessons pupils listen carefully and there was “less low-level disruption than in the past.”

“Changes to social times have reduced the number of incidents on the playground,” they added.

The report praises the school for now having a “broad and balanced curriculum” that includes pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), although they noted that staff did not always adapt the learning well enough for some pupils with SEND and “as a result, their needs are not met fully.”

However, it adds: “Where the curriculum has been implemented for longer, pupils show a greater depth to their learning,” while going on to note: “Pupils still have gaps in their knowledge caused by the past weaknesses in the curriculum.”

Children in early years are said to “get off to a strong start” but inspectors advised further refinement of the curriculum to address issues with pupils’ reading fluency in later years.

Making these improvements would lead to higher gradings across all elements of inspection, said Ofsted.

The full Ofsted report can be found at ofsted.gov.uk under reference 50238078.