The inspection was carried out by one Additional Inspector.
Description of the school
This small, rural school is situated in the village of Scorton near Richmond. Pupils come from several nearby villages and farms. Almost all are of White British background. The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is lower than average, as is the percentage of pupils with identified learning difficulties and disabilities. No pupil has a statement of special educational need. Pupils are taught in one Reception class, and three mixed- age classes. The school has recently gained a National Healthy School Award and the North Yorkshire Inclusion Quality Mark, and is working towards the Basic Skills Quality Mark.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a good school. It is very popular with parents, who give it their overwhelming support. They and their children are rightly proud of the school. It is a happy, welcoming and vibrant place in which pupils' personal development and the care, guidance and support they receive are outstanding. This helps them to achieve well and make good progress. Pupils attend school regularly and arrive in good time. They apply themselves well to their work, thoroughly enjoy school life and quickly gain the confidence to make the right choices about living a healthy and active life. They show consideration for others and an understanding of the wider world and people of different faiths.
Children have a good start in Reception. Consistently good teaching and a stimulating curriculum enable them to settle well and make good progress. The well planned curriculum is greatly enhanced by music, sport, visitors, visits and an excellent range of extra-curricular activities. Pupils greatly appreciate and benefit from residential visits.
Good teaching enables pupils, including the more able and those with learning difficulties and disabilities, to achieve well. Children in the Foundation Stage reach or exceed the goals set for them in all areas of their learning by the time they enter Year 1. However, limited space and the lack of a designated hard play area restrict children's opportunities to learn outside. Pupils in Years 1 to 6 achieve well because their progress is carefully tracked and the work they are set is well matched to their needs. In Years 5 and 6 high quality teaching and support mean that pupils' progress accelerates. Although resources in information and communication technology (ICT) have improved since the last inspection, the lack of enough interactive whiteboards for teaching and learning and the absence of the systematic development and assessment of pupils' skills in ICT are weaknesses.
Leadership and management are good. The school gives good value for money. Recent and rapid progress is due to the excellent leadership and management of the headteacher. She has been exceptionally effective in moving the school forward and in building a strong staff team which works well together for the benefit of pupils. Governors have a clear understanding of the school's strengths and areas for development and contribute well to school improvement. The school knows where it is going and how to get there. However, it is modest in its judgement of pupils' personal development and care, guidance and support. It has a well crafted, detailed strategic development plan that is shared by staff and governors and the local authority. It has a good capacity to improve further.
What the school should do to improve further
- Provide more opportunities for pupils to use ICT across subjects, increase the number of interactive whiteboards and assess pupils' skills in the subject more systematically.
- Improve the quality of the outdoor area and learning environment for children in the Foundation Stage and Year 1.
Achievement and standards
Children join the Reception class with a wide range of abilities and although some have difficulties with their communication skills their abilities are broadly average. By the end of the Foundation Stage standards are good and children achieve well. Pupils continue to make good progress in Years 1 to 6 and make particularly good progress in the Years 5/6 class as a result of very good teaching.
Throughout the school standards are above average in reading, writing, mathematics and science. Standards have improved well since a dip in 2004. Challenging targets have been exceeded in English and met in other subjects at Year 6.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' personal development and well-being is outstanding as is their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Throughout their time in the school, pupils make excellent progress in developing their personal skills and qualities; this helps them develop into considerate, thoughtful, confident and mature individuals. Pupils develop very positive relationships with each other, teachers, visitors and other adults who work with them. They enjoy coming to school, attend regularly and appreciate the friendships that they make. Pupils have extremely good attitudes to lessons and work hard to do their best and as a result they make good progress in their learning. They have good attitudes towards healthy living and know the importance of eating healthily, keeping fit and keeping themselves safe.
Behaviour is outstanding both in lessons and outside in the playground where older pupils are proud to show responsibility and consideration for the younger ones. Representatives from each year group take their work on the school council very seriously. They know that they can influence school decisions which affect their provision. Pupils' good basic skills and excellent personal development equip them very well for their future and for the next phase of their education.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning are good with evidence of some excellent teaching. Teachers have high expectations that enable pupils to learn very well and to make good progress. Teaching is especially good in the Foundation Stage where staff are particularly aware of how young children learn and use inspirational ideas to promote learning. Children's personal, social and emotional development is promoted particularly well and this enables them to quickly gain confidence and make a good start in their learning. Throughout the school, teachers plan lessons with thought and care so that work is well matched and relevant to individual pupils' needs. Pupils with learning difficulties receive a good level of support and high achievers extend their learning effectively. Relationships with all adults who help them are good and this underpins pupils' learning and achievement.
Teachers are confident in using ICT in the computer suite although its use is not planned sufficiently into all subjects. Pupils' skills are not developed systematically enough. Teachers use resources well, but there is a lack of interactive whiteboards to promote pupils' skills and engage their interest. Teachers ask pupils probing questions which make them think and understand the purpose of their tasks. High expectations of their behaviour, along with plenty of praise, encourage pupils to concentrate well on their work and to try their best at all times.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum is good. It ensures that pupils experience a breadth of activities and it focuses appropriately upon teaching basic skills. The curriculum is carefully planned to cater well for the mixed year classes. The range of learning activities provided for children in the Foundation Stage is stimulating. Many outdoor activities are provided to make learning interesting and enjoyable. However, their learning is restricted by limited space and the lack of a secure hard surface for use in inclement weather. In Years 1 to 6, the curriculum is tailored to fit the particular needs of the pupils and they achieve well as a result.
Events such as an Arts week, when professional artists visited the school and worked with the pupils, and opportunities for sport, are particular strengths which contribute well to pupils' outstanding personal development. Pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities are identified early and catered for very well. The parents of these pupils cannot praise enough the care and support that their children receive. Enrichment is very good. The addition of French to the curriculum is popular with the pupils. There is an excellent range of extra-curricular activities.
Care, guidance and support
This is outstanding, exemplary in its work with parents and its work with outside agencies to ensure that pupils, especially the most vulnerable, achieve well. Staff provide high quality care for pupils and all, including the governors, promote their health and safety well. Child protection arrangements are robust and risk assessments are in place and regularly reviewed. The school is quick to obtain help from outside agencies if necessary and it makes excellent provision to ensure a safe and supportive environment. Very good induction procedures help Reception children and their parents settle happily into new routines. Pupils and parents value the guidance provided by the improvement targets contained within school reports and in teachers' marking. The school enables pupils to achieve independence and responsibility for their own learning and provides particularly well for the transition of Year 6 pupils to secondary school.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are good. The headteacher's leadership is outstanding and has been instrumental in aiding the school to recover from a difficult period. She has the confidence of staff, pupils, governors and parents. Since her arrival at the school she has created a common sense of purpose amongst staff, who work very well together. Leadership of the school is successfully focused on raising standards and promoting the personal development and well-being of learners. Self-evaluation is considerably enhanced by seeking, taking account of and acting upon the views of parents, pupils and of local authority personnel. The clear way that teachers' personal targets are linked to priorities in the school development plan ensures that the whole school pulls together effectively to make improvements The keen focus on developing the professional skills of staff, including subject leaders, teaching assistants and newly qualified teachers, is highly valued, has led to improvements in management and has contributed well to raising pupils' achievement.
Governors ensure that all statutory requirements are met and they plan strategically for the future. They have a good understanding of the school's strengths and areas for development, provide good support and work effectively for the benefit of pupils, staff and parents. These factors illustrate the strong commitment to improvement and reflect the school's good capacity to move forward. Financial planning is good and the school is successful in gaining additional funding to enhance resources and facilities. The school gives good value for money.