One of UK’s youngest heads keeps standards high at Nun Monkton school


Last updated Feb 5, 2022
(L:R) Sarah Ritchie, Joanna Bromley, Lauren Simpson, Becky Andrew, Leah McCooke, Brenda Loades and Joanne Hill.

Ofsted inspectors praised one of the youngest headteachers in the UK after their first visit to Nun Monkton Primary Foundation School under her tenure.

Lauren Simpson joined the village school as a teacher in September 2016 and became acting head when the previous headteacher left just two laters in September 2020.

She secured the position of headteacher full-time in March 2021 at just 25-years-old.

Not only did Miss Simpson take the school through coronavirus but in that time she also quadrupled pupil numbers — there are now 45 students up from 12 when she started.

Miss Simpson believes the new forest school learning, the new nursery and wraparound care has helped drive up those pupil numbers

Teachers at forest schools regularly take pupils outside to learn through exploration and challenges.

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In recent months, children have built shelters, base camps, fire circles, tyre swings and more. That practical learning has been very attractive to parents looking for something different for their children.

Nun Monkton Primary School.

Ofsted carried out an interim inspection in November 2021 and published the results earlier this week. They said the school continues to be good and added:

“Pupils are very proud of their school. They enjoy school. Pupils have confidence and trust in staff. They know that staff care for them.

“There is a culture of openness and mutual respect that ensures pupils are kept safe.

“Leaders and teachers have high expectations for all pupils. They plan lessons that encourage pupils to enjoy their learning and work hard.”

Miss Simpson, who hopes to earn an outstanding Ofsted report at the next full inspection, told the Stray Ferret:

“The school has grown massively — it has really gone from strength to strength. So I am really proud of the staff and the children.

“We have a fantastic group of children here. They are a real credit to their community.

“People should be able to look back at primary school as some of their best years. That’s possible when you have a great relationship with teachers and when you make amazing friends.”

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