''Inspirational" means seeing something and saying "Wow!" I want to do that!' wrote one pupil. Gillespie is an outstanding school that provides much that is inspirational for pupils and all members of the school community. The contribution and involvement of families, the local community and wider partnerships are significant factors in the success of this school.
The standards pupils achieve by the time they leave have been broadly average for a number of years. However, this position has improved and the inspection found attainment currently in Year 6 to be above average, with pupils having made outstanding progress throughout their time at school. One of the greatest strengths of the school is the... exceptional curriculum provision.
It is carefully and successfully designed to maximise opportunities to make links between subjects; for example, in English, pupils wrote in response to a painting by Vermeer, simultaneously developing speaking, listening and writing skills as well as finding out about a famous artist and considering their own response to the painting. All pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 learn a stringed instrument, either the violin or cello, with all music in school taught to a very high standard by a specialist teacher. Pupils who display musical talent have additionally been invited to take part in extra- curricular orchestral and choral activities.
Equally impressive opportunities exist for pupils to develop and participate in a wide range of sporting and wider interest activities, with many after-school clubs and competitive team events. Pupils know their learning targets and the school has clear systems and practices in place for assessing pupils' work and planning according to their needs. In some classes, such as Year 6, assessment was observed being used outstandingly well and, as a result, pupils made rapid progress.
However, this very high standard is not consistent throughout the school. In all cases, marking is positive and, at its best, marking provides clear guidance to pupils on how to improve their work further. Nevertheless, there is some variation in the quality of feedback and advice across subjects and year groups.
As a result of strong care, guidance and support and an evident emphasis on social, moral, spiritual and cultural development, pupils develop extremely well as responsible and concerned young citizens and their behaviour is outstanding. The headteacher, deputy headteacher and governors provide exemplary leadership. They relentlessly evaluate the school's provision, including the opportunities for, and the achievements of, the pupils.
Success is celebrated, but improvement is continuously sought. As a result, there have been significant developments since the school's previous positive inspection. Leadership is now distributed throughout the school and middle leaders are clear about their roles in the drive to raise attainment further.
These factors indicate that the school has excellent capacity to continue on its upward path.
Information about the school
Gillespie is a slightly smaller than average one-form entry primary school, housed in a three-storey Victorian building in North Islington. The school population is diverse, reflecting the wealth of cultures and backgrounds within the local community.
The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is well above the national average. A very high proportion of pupils are from minority ethnic groups and almost half the pupils speak English as an additional language. The main groups represented are pupils of Bangladeshi origin and those of White British heritage.
The number of pupils identified as having special educational needs and/or disabilities is in line with the national average. Gillespie is a member of several partnerships, including the Islington Zone partnership, which provides many opportunities for collaborative work between primary and secondary schools in the locality. The school runs a breakfast club and a wide range of after-school activities.