TRIBUTE has been paid to a village school’s headteacher after it was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors.

Hoddlesden’s St Paul’s Primary School was given the top ranking with lead inspector David Law proclaiming: “The headteacher’s excellent leadership is unfaltering in expecting the very best for every pupil.”

And East Rural councillor Julie Slater, also a governor at the Bayne Street school, said headteacher Bernie Bickerton had done a fantastic job.

She said: “We were absolutely delighted with the Ofsted report.

“It takes a lot to get an outstanding Ofsted, especially with this being a village school.

“Mrs Bickerton took over a school that wasn’t doing as well as it could and now we have come out on top.

“She is an excellent head. As governers we do challenge her but she has always got the answers. We are all very proud and elated at the outcome.”

Coun Slater said she hoped the report would put pressure on the council to expand the school.

She said: “I hope that through getting the outstanding, the council will look favourably on our bid to get a new classroom. We want to remain outstanding and the only way we can do that is if we have the space required.”

The report, which saw the school improve on its previous ‘good’ rating, also said: “Teaching is outstanding. Classrooms buzz with excitement. Pupils say lessons are fun and they respond eagerly to the stimulating activities teachers provide. Behaviour is outstanding. Pupils are exceptionally polite, helpful and always eager to do their very best.”