A primary school in Hitchin, where "pupils learn exceptionally well", has been rated outstanding in all areas by Ofsted.

Pupils at Samuel Lucas Junior Mixed and Infant School "thrive at this vibrant school", the education watchdog says, and "come to school happily every day".

In a report published today (November 21), Ofsted says the school’s curriculum is "meticulously planned" and "highly ambitious", meaning that "pupils learn exceptionally well".

The report, which follows an inspection in October, continues: "Everyone in the school community, including the governing body, is determined to give every pupil the best chance to succeed.

"Pupils with SEND learn the same ambitious curriculum as their peers. The school puts precise plans in place to support them.

"Pupils’ conduct around the school is exemplary. The calm, purposeful atmosphere in classrooms is highly conducive to learning.

"The school develops pupils into well-rounded young people who are ready for life in modern Britain.

"From the early years onwards, pupils learn about healthy lifestyles and positive relationships in an age-appropriate way.

"In religious education, pupils learn about tolerance by exploring the differences and similarities between major faiths."

Ofsted also highlights pupils' growth as active citizens through fundraising for charities, with older pupils also having leadership roles, including sports leaders and school councillors. "They form part of the school’s excellent education programme for building pupils’ character," it says.

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The glowing report continues: "Throughout the school, there is a culture of high expectations and ambition for all. Senior leaders drive this. They are supported, and challenged, by an experienced and knowledgeable governing body.

"The extent to which staff share leaders’ vision is remarkable. Staff are proud to work at the school. They feel valued and know that their wellbeing is taken seriously.

"They are offered an extensive range of professional development opportunities. These are purposefully planned so that pupils get the best possible educational experience.

"Pupils are extremely well prepared for their future lives."

This is the school's first inspection by Ofsted since 2009, when it was also rated outstanding. The school has doubled its capacity since Ofsted's last inspection.

Headteacher Helen Brind said: "We are delighted with the report from our recent inspection. 

"Whilst our whole school community is proud of our inspection outcome, we are most proud of the words that have been used to describe our school. 

"The inspectors really seemed to understand what Samuel Lucas is all about, and the extra mile we will go to provide all pupils with an ambitious and exciting curriculum and learning journey.

"By staff, governors, children and parents coming together, we were able to showcase our school and ensure they fully understood just how wonderful it is to both learn and work within this thriving school community."

Ben Fuller, the chair of governors, added: "The school has been awaiting this inspection for quite some time, so this has been a long period of anticipation and hard work for our staff.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff for their dedication and the hard work they put in, both in the lead-up and during the inspection."