The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Bishopton is smaller than most primary schools. The school has specialist provision for up to 11 pupils who have speech and language difficulties. Many of these leave this school and return to their own primary schools at the end of Year 2. Very few of these pupils have a statement of special educational need. The proportion of pupils who have speech and language difficulties, difficulty acquiring literacy and numeracy skills and/or disabilities is above average.
The large majority of pupils come from White British backgrounds. The number of pupils who speak English as an additional language is above average, with a few at the early stages of learning English. Most of these pupils are from Poland. A very small minority of pupils are from Traveller communities. The number of pupils who leave and join the school at times other than usual is above average. A number of classes have been disrupted because of staff absence caused by ill health or maternity leave.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Bishopton is a welcoming school that provides a satisfactory education for its pupils. Parents are overwhelmingly supportive of the work of the school. They especially like the assemblies that they are invited to and are grateful for the support and encouragement given to pupils who have specific needs. The school is good at linking up with external agencies and individuals to gain additional help and support for these pupils. Consequently, pupils with specific needs are generally well supported, which enables them to make satisfactory progress. The school is successful in developing pupils' personal and social skills so that they quickly learn how to get on with each other and the adults who work and play with them. The pupils' behaviour is exemplary. Pupils develop positive attitudes to learning and, although a few pupils say they are not too keen on literacy lessons, most enjoy what is on offer. They say they especially like physical education lessons and the after- school clubs that promote the need to keep fit. Consequently, pupils develop a good awareness of why they should take regular exercise. Eating a balanced diet is also important to them. Pupils show a good idea of what is needed to eat healthily as they sensibly select from a wide range of healthy options at lunchtime. Their knowledge of different cultures in the diverse society that we live in is not so strong. As they move through the school, pupils' personal skills are developed well and they are well prepared personally for their next school. Pupils are soundly prepared academically.
The children in the Foundation Stage get off to a satisfactory start. Standards vary year on year and can be affected by a number of factors such as variations in the proportion of pupils with learning difficulties in year groups. Standards in Year 6 are average and pupils make satisfactory progress. The quality of teaching is satisfactory. Teachers and teaching assistants develop good relationships with the pupils. As a result, attitudes to learning are good. However, assessment is not always used well to plan activities to match the needs and abilities of all pupils. At times, questioning during class discussions is not precisely linked to the abilities and specific needs of all pupils, which means that too many are not taking part. Care and academic guidance are satisfactory. Although pupils have targets for improvement, not all can recall the targets they are given. Marking is not consistently informing pupils what they need to do to improve. At present neither target setting nor teachers' marking is contributing effectively to pupils' learning and progress.
A strength of the curriculum is the way it reinforces and develops pupils' personal and social skills through a good range of visitors coming into school and well-planned visits out. The headteacher, staff and governors have worked hard to ensure that pupils' development of good personal and social skills is maintained. Improvement since the previous inspection has been adequate and the school has satisfactory capacity to improve further. However, the system used to record and then track the progress of pupils, including those in Reception, does not give a concise and clear picture of how well individuals and the many groups of pupils are progressing.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children join the Reception class with attainment that varies year on year. The current Reception children joined school with levels below those expected for their age. Children make good progress in developing their personal and social skills because this area is well promoted in all that they do. However, progress is satisfactory overall. By the time they start in Year 1, most children do not reach the expected levels. Children enjoy school and quickly understand the school's routines. The teaching is satisfactory. Adults manage children well and give them lots of encouragement. As a result, children are secure and happy. The children's behaviour is good but when the introduction to activities is too long, a few children find it difficult to concentrate. Pupils receive satisfactory care and support. At times, some children are not given sufficient guidance to develop basic writing skills, such as how to form their letters properly. Children's learning is assessed regularly but the system that is used to record and then to track individual progress does not clearly show progress through all areas of learning. Parents are pleased with the support their children receive. As one parent wrote, 'We have all been welcomed into the school which we feel is very family orientated. Any concerns we have had have been quickly followed up and dealt with.'
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve the quality of teaching to ensure that assessment is used more carefully in all classes to match work more accurately to pupils' abilities and their specific needs.
- Improve the system used to track pupils' progress, including that of the children in the Foundation Stage, so that it clearly identifies how well individuals and the many different groups of pupils are doing.
- Improve the quality and consistency of target setting and teachers' marking so that the processes contribute more effectively to pupils' learning and progress.
- Increase pupils' knowledge and understanding of the cultural diversity in modern Britain.
A small proportion of schools whose effectiveness is judged as satisfactory but which have areas of underperformance will receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.
Achievement and standards
Standards in Year 2 are well below average but in relation to their starting points, pupils' progress is satisfactory. Half of this cohort is identified as having difficulties acquiring literacy and numeracy skills or speech and language difficulties. In Year 6, standards are average. Progress is satisfactory for most pupils as they move through Key Stage 2. A few pupils make good progress. Pupils who have difficulty acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills or who have speech and language difficulties make satisfactory progress, as do those who speak English as an additional language. Pupils generally achieve well when they are given specialist one-to-one support. This is because activities, in these circumstances, are more accurately matched to their individual needs. Children from Traveller communities make satisfactory progress whilst they are in school but poor attendance hinders their progress over time.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils feel safe and secure in school, have confidence in the adults who support them and know that the school is a safe place. They say for example, that if there was any bullying, an adult would sort it out quickly. Pupils make a good contribution to the community. Through the buddy system, where pupils look after each other at playtimes, and the school council, pupils contribute well to the life of the school. The work of the school council is impressive. School councillors have instigated a seated area in the playground, static playground equipment and specific apparatus for use at playtimes. Attendance is average when the attendance of the few pupils who are from Traveller communities is excluded. The school has satisfactory procedures and works hard to monitor the attendance of the different groups of pupils in the school. Parents like the way the school awards attendance certificates to pupils.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
The quality of teaching and learning is satisfactory. However, assessment information is not always used effectively to plan activities to meet pupils' different needs. When this happens pupils are given activities that are either not challenging enough or too hard, and their learning is then restricted. This often applies to the more able pupils and sometimes to those who have difficulty acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills. At times, it applies to the other different pupil groups in the school, such as those who are at the early stages of learning English and the few pupils from Traveller communities. Teaching assistants and volunteer helpers are well prepared and contribute well to the learning of the individuals they work with. Good interaction was seen as a teaching assistant worked with an older pupil who speaks English as an additional language. Activities and questioning were expertly matched to the pupil's needs and abilities, enabling him to learn well. Similarly, a teaching assistant sensitively supported a younger pupil with speech and language difficulties, encouraging him to listen carefully and enabling him to take part in the lesson.
Curriculum and other activities
This is an inclusive school where the many different pupil groups are well integrated into classes. The curriculum promotes personal, social and health education effectively in all activities and, as a result, all pupils get on well with each other. The provision for literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT) is satisfactory. ICT is used well in some subject areas such as in literacy, science, art and geography, but its use is not consistent throughout the school. Literacy skills are not consistently developed effectively across other subjects. This affects pupils' progress and attainment in writing.
Care, guidance and support
The strength in this aspect of provision is the way that pupils' personal and social needs are fostered in all that they do. Satisfactory attention is given to health and safety and child protection arrangements. The quality of the academic guidance that pupils receive is variable. The use of targets and marking is satisfactory but inconsistent. Some pupils know their targets but others are unsure. When teachers mark pupils' work their comments, although supportive, do not regularly inform pupils what they need to do to improve or reach the targets they have been given.
Leadership and management
The headteacher, staff and governors do a good job in improving pupils' personal development and are committed to developing the school further. Priorities for improvement are clearly identified but the school's self-evaluation is over-generous. The school has gone through a difficult period. Staff absences for health reasons and maternity leave have meant that three out of five classes have had supply teachers. This has not been easy to manage and the headteacher acknowledges that the provision has not been as good recently as in the past. It has not been possible to develop the roles of the key stage coordinators as was intended, and difficult for the work of some of the key subject leaders to be completed. Work has been done in developing the mathematics provision and there has been a focus on writing, the headteacher is aware that the important job of monitoring how well pupils are doing in English and mathematics requires further development. A programme to teach letters and sounds has been introduced this year but has not been in place long enough to have had an impact on achievement and standards. The work of the teaching assistants has been successfully reviewed and monitored. Governors have a good understanding of the school's strengths and areas for improvement. Since the school was inspected last, the governors have developed their role considerably. They are now in a good position to support and challenge the school well because they are more involved in the school's work than when the school was last inspected.