The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Allhallows is a small primary school. The vast majority of pupils come from a White British background. There are very few pupils who speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is above average. The school has experienced considerable staffing changes over the years but in the last two years, the teaching force has been more settled.
Overall effectiveness of the school
The overall effectiveness of Allhallows Primary is satisfactory. Pupils' personal development is good as a result of the good care, guidance and support that they receive. Their academic achievement is satisfactory.
The headteacher and deputy headteacher have successfully seen the school through a difficult time when standards declined, and there were several staff changes and a fall in pupil numbers. Standards have risen from well below average to average and there have been significant improvements in pupils' behaviour. The school has regained the confidence of the parents and local community and pupil numbers have risen again. Parents now hold very positive views about Allhallows. One comment sums up the views of many: 'After its turbulent history, the school has greatly improved'. Leaders are focusing their attention on raising pupils' achievement further, particularly in mathematics. Until recently, most of the leadership responsibilities were held by the headteacher and deputy headteacher. New subject leaders are being developed and trained but their role in monitoring performance and improvement planning is limited. Children are getting off to a good start in the Foundation Stage. With a more settled staff, the school is in a good position to build on its improvements.
Pupils enjoy school and this is reflected in their good attendance and their keen participation in activities. Pupils are friendly and polite and relate well to others. Behaviour is consistently good in lessons and around the school. Pupils adopt healthy lifestyles and have a clear understanding of the importance of eating a balanced diet, keeping safe and taking regular exercise. They readily take on responsibilities such as serving on the school council and they make good contributions to the local and wider community. The school works well with a range of external agencies to provide well-targeted support for any pupils who need extra help.
Satisfactory teaching and learning and a sound curriculum enable pupils to make satisfactory progress overall. Teachers have good relationships with their class and make the purpose of lessons clear. Pupils make good progress when they are challenged and tasks are well matched to their abilities. However, this good practice is not always consistent. In a few lessons, pace and challenge are not high enough and the rate of learning slows. By Year 6, standards are broadly average overall but there are differences across the subjects. Standards are average in English and science but below average in mathematics. In Years 3 to 6, pupils do not always make the progress that they should in this subject. A range of positive measures are being implemented to improve mathematics, such as focusing on mental skills and increasing investigative and problem-solving activities. However, these initiatives are too recent to have made a difference to pupils' achievement. Pupils enjoy the good range of additional activities that enrich the curriculum.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children enter the Reception year with standards a little below those expected at this stage. The Foundation Stage is well led and managed. As a result, assessment procedures are effective and teachers have a clear overview of how well children are doing and what they need to do next. Good teaching and a stimulating curriculum give children in Reception a good start. Children are enthusiastic about their learning and make good gains in all areas, although their understanding of letter sounds is weaker than other aspects and the school is taking steps to improve this. Significant improvements have been made to the Foundation Stage since the last inspection, particularly to the range of activities provided.
What the school should do to improve further
- raise achievement, particularly in mathematics in Year 3 to 6, by fully embedding the development of mental and investigative skills
- ensure that all lessons have suitable levels of challenge and that learning maintains a brisk pace
- extend the role of subject leaders and ensure that all are effectively monitoring performance and improvement planning.
Achievement and standards
Children make good progress in the Reception Year and most attain the expected levels in all areas of learning by the start of Year 1. In Years 1 and 2, pupils make steady progress but standards fluctuate in Year 2 because of variations in the overall attainment of small year groups. In the past, this secure base has not always been built on as effectively as it might have been. As a result, pupils have not always made the gains that they should in Years 3 to 6 and standards at the end of Year 6 were below average up to two years ago. Greater stability in staffing has led to improvements and standards have risen to broadly average levels. However, pupils do better in English and science than they do in mathematics. The school is taking positive action to tackle this. Most pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make good progress because of the effective care and support provided. A significant number reach nationally expected standards at the end of Year 6.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils are enthusiastic about school and show positive attitudes to learning. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good, with the moral and social aspects being particularly strong. Behaviour has improved since the last inspection. Clear and consistent expectations by staff and positive relationships lead to consistently good conduct. Pupils form good relationships with adults and amongst their peers. They work well collaboratively in activities. They adopt healthy lifestyles and possess a good understanding of the importance of healthy diets and taking regular exercise. Pupils thrive on additional responsibilities. Those on the school council take their responsibilities seriously. These pupils have contributed to the development of an environmental garden and make good suggestions for fundraising events. Pupils make a positive contribution to the local community with drama and music productions in the village. The raising of funds for a variety of charities such as Children in Need contributes to the wider community. Pupils are reasonably well prepared for the future. They have well-developed personal and social skills and a sound base of literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT) skills.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Across the school, teachers share the purpose of lessons effectively with their classes, so that pupils know what they are expected to learn. Teachers' instructions and explanations are clear and informative. Pupils are attentive and respond well to their teachers' instructions and questions. Pupils have good opportunities to discuss their work and so their speaking and listening skills develop well. When teachers use assessment information effectively, tasks are well matched to pupils' needs. As a result, pupils are suitably challenged and make good gains in their learning. In a few lessons across the school, the level of challenge is not appropriate. Not all lessons proceed at a brisk pace and the rate of learning slows. Teaching assistants are effectively deployed and contribute well to learning, particularly for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The marking of pupils' work is positive and constructive. Good work is praised and comments help pupils to improve.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum promotes pupils' personal development well and enables them to make satisfactory progress. Good emphasis has been placed on the development of language and literacy skills and pupils usually make better progress in these areas than in mathematics, particularly in Years 3 to 6. Work is underway to improve pupils' mental skills, increase investigative and problem-solving work and provide more opportunities for pupils to use and apply their skills in other subjects. There is good provison for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and this enables these pupils to make good progress. French adds an interesting dimension to pupils' learning and cultural development. A good range of additional activities contributes to pupils' enjoyment and interests. These include choir, gymnastics, football, ICT and textiles. Healthy lifestyles and personal safety are promoted well.
Care, guidance and support
Good pastoral care and support contribute well to pupils' personal development. Procedures to ensure pupils' protection and safety are effective so pupils are safe and secure at school. Staff know the pupils well and have established good relationships with them and their parents. Good support is provided for pupils, with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Systems for assessing and tracking pupils' attainment and progress are effective. Assessment information is usually used well to set suitably challenging individual learning targets in English and mathematics. As a result, most pupils know what they are working towards in these subjects. Mathematics targets are being refined and sharpened to take good account of the changes to the mathematics curriculum.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management have been successful in providing effective care, guidance and support and in promoting pupils' personal development. Senior staff have successfully led the school through a prolonged period of disruption and succeeded in improving teaching and pupils' behaviour. This has led to a rise in standards. Good provision in the Foundation Stage enables children to get off to a good start. The school has demonstrated good capacity to improve and established a firm foundation on which to build further.
The school has worked hard to forge a strong partnership with parents. Parents give good support and are very pleased with the care and education provided. The headteacher, the school's positive atmosphere, and the approachability of the staff all come in for high praise. Typical parental comments are, 'The staff are always approachable and very helpful', 'We are very pleased with the way the headteacher leads and manages the school' and 'The atmosphere is warm and friendly'.
Self-evaluation is satisfactory. Senior staff have accurately identified the right priorities for improvement, but some key subject leaders are new to their post and their role in terms of monitoring and evaluation is still developing. The need to raise achievement in mathematics has rightly been identified as the most pressing priority. Well–thought-out plans are being implemented and good use is being made of local authority advisers to improve provison for the subject. Challenging targets are set as part of the school's drive to raise achievement.
Governors are committed and have supported the school through some challenging times. There is scope for them to be more questioning about how well pupils are achieving in order to get a clearer view of the school's strengths and weaknesses.