West Lulworth

a Registered One-Place Study and part of the Dorset OPC network


Schools going ‘two into one’

Daily Echo, Bournemouth - Friday 13 July 2007

AFTER years working alongside each other, two Purbeck schools are set to become one.

West Lulworth First School and Winfrith First School have shared facilities and even a head teacher in the past. But from the beginning of the next school year, they will be officially amalgamated and known as Lulworth and Winfrith First school - although they will still operate from two sites some three miles apart.

Head teacher of seven years Estelle Smith, who leaves at the end of this term, has overseen the process from when the schools began teaming up for events in 2004. She said: "Being a very small school brings about all sort of difficulties. It's hard to get sports teams together and the staff are stretched trying to deal with all aspects of the national curriculum with mixed classes. When we started linking together we immediately saw the benefits."

In 2005 the schools became officially federated, with one governing body and one head. It proved so successful they launched a trial amalgamation last September. For the last school year the youngest children from both schools have been taught at Winfrith and the elder at Lulworth, with a shuttle bus running between the two to save parents changing their school runs. That arrangement will be official and permanent from September.

Mrs Smith said: "It has been hugely successful. We've gone from sometimes having just two children in a year group to 10 or 12. It means the children can challenge each other, and the teachers can share expertise." She added: "I think we've gone from strength to strength because of the fantastic team spirit we have. It has been hugely successful and the parents and governors have been with us every step of the way."

The new school has four full-time teachers and five teaching assistants, with just over 60 children.

Phil Farmer, education officer at Dorset local education authority, said the amalgamation of two first schools was unique in the county and had proved so successful it may be replicated.

He said: "It is a pathfinder for Dorset in that respect. This school has a bright, bright future."

Mrs Smith, who hands over the rudder to a new head next term, said she hoped the amalgamation would protect the school in the future from falling pupil numbers and fluctuations in intake levels. She added: "Now is a natural break for someone else to come along and take the school forward."

Top marks for Lulworth and Winfrith First School

Daily Echo, Bournemouth - Tuesday 9 June 2009 by Adrianne Maslen

A NEWLY combined first school has come top of the class in its first Ofsted report. Lulworth and Winfrith C of E VC First School was formed from the amalgamation of the two village schools in September 2007 and has already been recognised as a good school by Government assessors.

Ofsted inspectors recognised the school’s outstanding efforts to keep pupils safe, fit and health, and were particularly impressed with their positive contribution to the community.

The report said: “Pupils enjoy coming to school and attendance is above average. Pupils feel happy, safe and secure in school and develop an excellent awareness of how to keep themselves healthy and safe.”

The inspectors felt the move to combine the schools was a good one. “The headteacher, effectively supported by the assistant headteacher and governors, has done well in the short time available to establish in this new school effective systems and procedures which deliver a good quality education for pupils,” the report said.

“As a result, pupils achieve well in both their academic and personal development and, by the time they leave, standards are above average.

“The amalgamation of the two schools has been handled very effectively, with the school making excellent arrangements to ensure pupils’ safety as they travel between the two sites.”

Headteacher Sharon Buckland is delighted the hard work paid off. She said: “We have worked hard over the last 18 months to appoint staff who are not only outstanding teachers but who also add to the Christian, caring ethos of the school.” In the classroom, the inspectors noted a well-designed curriculum, with basic numeracy and literacy skills taught especially well.

But they said problems arose through a high turnover and long-term sickness of staff in the last academic year. The report states: “This led to inconsistencies in the quality of teaching, resulting in the progress of some higher attaining pupils slowing, most markedly in mathematics.”

Although good progress this year means those pupils are ‘rapidly catching up’, lead inspector Diane Wilkinson has asked staff to ensure they continue to make improvements and told pupils they can help by always working hard. Mrs Wilkinson said she would also like to see staff making better use of outdoor areas to help reception children learn and develop new skills.

It is a double celebration for the school, which was declared outstanding in its recent Diocese of Salisbury inspection.

West Lulworth C Of E First School head Sharon Buckland, pupils and staff celebrate

Dorset Echo - Sunday 15 January 2012

Lulworth and Winfrith First School celebrate after Ofsted's 'outstanding' inspection

LULWORTH and Winfrith First School has been given a glowing Ofsted report commending the staff and headteacher’s enthusiasm and leadership.

After an inspection from Ofsted inspectors the school was found to be ‘outstanding’ with ‘pupils that are very happy, work hard and achieve exceptionally well to attain high grades’.

The lead inspector Joyce Cox wrote to the school thanking the pupils and staff for two ‘very interesting and happy days’.

She said that the ‘childrens’ behaviour is excellent and you work hard and play excellently together, the lessons are taught exceptionally well’.

In particular the inspectors praised the school’s leadership in the report, saying: “Pupils, all staff, including first rate school leaders and governors, the parents and carers are justifiably proud of their school.

“They work together as an outstanding team who strive constantly for excellence.

“A key reason for the school’s exceptional success is that the headteacher’s inspirational leadership enthuses others to have the highest possible aspirations.”

Headteacher Sharon Buckland said that Lulworth and Winfrith School is a fantastic place to learn and it is a real privilege to work here.

She added:“ The staff work exceptionally hard to make everyday exciting and challenging for the children and we were thrilled when both the Ofsted and Salisbury Diocese inspections graded us as an outstanding school.”

Her staff were also described as an ‘exceptionally impressive team’.

Lulworth and Winfrith School joins the small number, just six per cent of schools nationally, who achieved an outstanding judgement from Ofsted in the last year.

More than three quarters of the parents responded to an Ofsted questionnaire, which is a very high proportion, and Ofsted revealed that they spoke ‘in glowing terms about the school’s considerable achievements’.

One parent said: “Our children thoroughly enjoy every day and are challenged to achieve standards beyond our expectations.”

In particular parents from the Armed Forces are especially grateful for the excellent school care and support given to their children whilst they are posted on overseas duty.

Separate sites

Lulworth and Winfirth is a small rural school formed from the amalgamation of two village schools in September, 2007.

A total of 84 pupils are taught on two sites about four miles apart with the infant children based at the Winfrith site and the juniors at Lulworth.

About 40 per cent of the pupils come from Armed Forces’ families and these tend to stay for a period of around two years due to the fact that the families are stationed elsewhere.

Brief history

Land was given by John and Elizabeth Fowler of Winterborne Kingston to the Rector and Churchwardens of the parish in 1858 to build a school for ‘children of the labouring, manufacturing and other poor classes in this area’. The school was built together with the schoolhouse in 1860 and run by a resident headteacher and an assistant.

One headteacher, Miss Emma Echett, was in charge for 43 years from 1878, when children between the ages of 5 and 13 years attended the school for instruction on a voluntary basis.

In 1952, George Hollowood took over as headmaster and stayed for 27 years. The school buildings were extended and brought up to Ministry of Education standards and three mobile classrooms added. The children from the Army Camp now attended the local village school.

In the 1960s the number of pupils on the roll was  over 130 and daily hot meals were provided for all. The Nativity Play was a great feature of Lulworth School. School trips were organised and there was competition with other schools in the form of the Wool and District sports events.

Numbers of pupils declined with the introduction of the three-tier system in Purbeck in the late 1970s, since all pupils now left the village at nine years of age to go to Bovington Middle School. Recent years have seen the provision of more space, more equipment and more staff, thus providing a first class modern education for the pupils.

This photograph was taken in School Lane outside the blacksmith’s timber house.

Teachers: Miss Morgan (left) & Cissy Sinnick (right)

Back row (standing on bench):

Arthur Simpkins, Ethel James, Edgar Crabb, ?, Bob Hawkins, ?, ?


? Downting, Iris Wilson, Dorothy Vallance, Connie Vallance, Joe Brickwood, ?, ?, ?

Seated (on chairs & bench):

?, ?, Dorothy Ironside, Pam Hardy, Betty Dorey, Nellie Simkins, ?, Lilian Hall, Ivy Whittle

Front row (sat on ground):

 ?, Norman Mills, Fred Hawkins, Bill Woodsford, Arthur Stevens, Ernest Dare, Walter Dorey