A school named after a heroic American RAF pilot has been praised in a recent Ofsted report, with the headteacher identifying the community as “what inspires us”. 

Sanders Draper School in Hornchurch was rated ‘good’ across each of its four metrics, following an inspection carried out in January. 

The report lists a number of areas where the school performs well, with its “ambitious curriculum” and good use of assessment among those highlighted by inspectors. 

It notes pupils are “happy and safe here”, and that “they appreciated being part of a school rooted in local history”. 

It adds: “Pupils enjoy collecting ‘hero points’ as rewards for excellent work and behaviour.” 

The school’s library and provision of opportunities for pupils beyond the academic curriculum, for example through clubs such as go-karting and origami, were also praised by Ofsted.  

Inspectors said areas of improvement were the need to fully embed recent changes to the curriculum "in a small number of subjects" and provide a more coherent plan for opportunities to develop pupils’ personal development. 

Referencing the American RAF pilot who, in 1943, after suffering engine trouble flew his plane into a nearby field to avoid crashing into the school, headteacher Stuart Brooks said: “There is a sense that Raimund Sanders Draper is still a strong source of inspiration for us all at this school.  

“We are extremely proud of our local community, of our brave former soldier Ian Fisher and local heroes Joy Caldwell and Eric Lock and the others that continue to inspire our students today."

Ian was a former pupil who died serving in Afghanistan while Joy served at RAF Hornchurch in the Second World War and fighter pilot Eric was based there.

Mr Brooks added: “We are really pleased that Ofsted have taken note of the importance we place on celebrating those who have had a positive impact on our community.

"These people come from the same streets, the same school, the same neighbourhood as our students. This is what inspires us, staff, students and families to be everyday heroes in our own lives.”

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On March 24, the school, part of the Success for All Educational Trust, will be paying respects on what will be the 80th anniversary of Mr Sanders Draper’s heroic avoidance of the school. 

In 2014, the school had changed its name to Sanders School. However, in 2020, Mr Brooks changed it back to Sanders Draper