Briar Hill Infant School
Headteacher: Mrs Gillian Makin
270 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||125563|
|Inspection date||19 March 2009|
|Reporting inspector||Bogusia Matusiak-Varley|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
The registered childcare, managed by the governing body, was inspected under section 49 of the Childcare Act 2006.
|Type of school||Infant|
|Age range of pupils||4–7|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number on roll|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||24 January 2006|
Date of previous funded early education|
|Not previously inspected|
|Date of previous childcare inspection||Not previously inspected|
|School address||Coppice Road|
|Leamington Spa CV31 2JF|
|Telephone number||01926 422834|
|Fax number||01926 450423|
|Inspection date||19 March 2009|
© Crown copyright 2009
The inspection was carried out by two additional inspectors. The inspectors evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following issues:
Evidence was gathered from a wide range of school documentation and lesson observations, and from interviews with the headteacher, staff and the chair of governing body. Interviews were also held with parents and pupils. Other aspects of the school's work were not investigated in detail, but inspectors found no evidence to suggest that the school's own assessments, as given in its self-evaluation, were not justified, and these have been included where appropriate in this report.
The school serves the local community of Whitnash. Approximately one third of the pupils come from minority ethnic groups, particularly Indian, only a small number of whom are at the early stages of learning English. A small number of pupils have learning difficulties and/or disabilities, some of whom have specific behaviour problems. The present headteacher has been in post for three months. The school has received many awards, including a Race Relations Award and Healthy School status. There is a privately run Briar Hill Out of Hours club on the school site which caters for 65 children in total.
Overall effectiveness of the school
The school provides a good quality of education for its pupils. Provision for care, guidance and support is outstanding and results in pupils' excellent personal development and well-being. Attendance is good and pupils love coming to the school. Parents are very supportive of the school. 'You know that the children are going to have a great day every day because of all the interesting things that they do,' said one parent, speaking for many. This opinion is supported by a pupil's comment, 'nine am is the best time in the world because that is when school starts.'
Children enter the Early Years Foundation Stage with broadly average skills in all areas of learning. They get off to a good start as a result of good teaching and learning, exciting learning opportunities and outstanding welfare provision. All adults devote their attention to making learning fun without losing sight of ensuring that all children, including those learning English as an additional language and those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, make good gains in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills. However, more capable children are not always given tasks which consistently challenge them as staff are not yet consistently using information from observations of learning to plan their next steps. Nevertheless, the vast majority of children achieve well from their starting points and reach standards which are above average when they start in Year 1. In personal, social and emotional development, children's achievement is outstanding because they are all treated as unique individuals and are taught in a very safe, caring and enabling environment. This sets the springboard for learning in Years 1 and 2 and ultimately contributes to the high levels of children's independence and outstanding behaviour and attitudes throughout the school.
Good progress in learning continues throughout Years 1 and 2, where teachers' assessments and the school's own records show that pupils have been attaining high standards over five years in reading, writing and mathematics. Pupils' achievement is good but it is outstanding in speaking and listening because of the many good opportunities provided for pupils to talk about their learning. More capable pupils do really well and attain high standards but there are some missed opportunities in lessons to push them even harder so that they excel even more. As in the Early Years Foundation Stage, not all staff use information from assessments of pupils' learning to plan challenging tasks to increase these pupils' rates of progress. This is particularly noticeable in mathematics and in writing.
Teaching and learning are good. Pupils have outstanding attitudes to learning because they get on very well with their teachers, find learning stimulating and respond to the excellent relationships throughout the school. They feel very secure and try out new things because they are confident that they will be supported in all that they do. Teaching and learning in this school are characterised by staff planning creative learning opportunities such as allowing boys to dress up as wounded soldiers during the Crimean War to write about their wartime experiences. Writing in role gives pupils in this school the opportunity to write from the heart. One pupil said, 'The best thing about this school is the group of lovely teachers who try many different ways to make learning fun.' Teachers use questions and discussions very effectively to extend pupils' understanding and make them think for themselves. As a result, pupils show excellent skills of independent learning. Teachers' marking is regular but it is not consistent throughout the year groups. The best marking tells pupils what to do to improve their work and gives them the opportunity to correct their mistakes. This, along with their good achievement of basic skills, prepares them very well for their future.
The curriculum is well thought out and enriched with an outstanding range of clubs, visitors and after-school activities. Teachers generally make good links between subjects but the use of too many worksheets restricts more capable pupils from developing their own ways of recording, especially in science. Pupils have many varied opportunities to learn about the beauty of nature, how to look after the planet, how to develop their imagination and creativity through music and art, distinguish right from wrong, work in teams and learn about other cultures. This contributes to their outstanding spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Pupils are very aware of the needs of others and collect monies for charities in order to help those less fortunate than themselves. They respect different faiths and cultures and are familiar with a range of places of worship.
Pupils have excellent knowledge about healthy eating and the need for exercise; this fully justifies the Healthy School Award. Pupils interviewed said that they feel very safe in school. The redesigning of the playground, where pupils have zoned areas for play, has paid dividends. Parents are delighted with the way in which the school takes on board pupils' concerns and gives them a say in all aspects of school life. Safeguarding procedures fully meet requirements and all the necessary checks are regularly carried out to ensure pupils' safety. The school promotes community cohesion well. The local community is used to promote pupils' awareness of belonging and many opportunities are taken to celebrate pupils' ethnic backgrounds. 'It's great to have so many different friends,' said one pupil, speaking for many others. Nevertheless there is room for improvement as international links within the curriculum are not as strong as local ones.
Central to the school's success are the good leadership and management of the headteacher, governors and senior staff. The headteacher leads by example and knows the needs of the pupils. Data is analysed and any suspected underachievement is rectified. Teaching assistants are deployed well to support pupils' learning and standards continue to rise. The governing body are committed, hard working and supportive and are knowledgeable about the school. The capacity of the school, based on its trend of maintaining high standards, is good.
Effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage
Within the good provision for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage, the provision for children's welfare and for their personal development is outstanding. Confidence, enthusiasm, independence and a zest for learning are characteristics of the children's learning. Parents are seen as true partners in their children's learning and are regularly informed of their children's progress. Induction processes are very well planned and, as a result, children settle in easily. Staff work very closely with a wide range of agencies to ensure that parents are signposted to appropriate agencies for help with any social, emotional or academic difficulties. Children are very happy and learn at a fast rate as a result of good teaching, an exciting curriculum and very high levels of care. Good gains are made in basic skills and children have plenty of opportunities to write about their learning. Nevertheless, more capable children are not challenged to the full in all activities as too often they undertake the same tasks as their peers. In lessons there is a good balance between play in which children are able to investigate a range of resources and structured learning opportunities led by adults. Teaching assistants make a very valid contribution to learning as they intervene in children's learning. The outdoor area is imaginatively used to interlink physical activity with creative play but planning is not yet taking into account the opportunities to develop the full range of tasks from indoors to outdoors. Leadership and management are good, with accurate evaluations made of provision.
|Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance 'Complaining about inspections', which is available from Ofsted's website: ofsted.gov.uk.|
|Key to judgements: grade 1 is outstanding, grade 2 good, grade 3 satisfactory, and grade 4 inadequate.||School Overall|
|How effective,efficient and inclusive is the provision of education,integrated care and any extended services in meeting the needs of learners?||2|
|Effective steps have been taken to promote improvement since the last inspection||Yes|
|How well does the school work in partnership with others to promote learners' well-being?||2|
|The capacity to make any necessary improvements||2|
|How effective is the provision in meeting the needs of children in the EYFS?||2|
|How well do children in the EYFS achieve?||2|
|How good is the overall personal development and well-being of the children?||1|
|How effectively are children in the EYFS helped to learn and develop?||2|
|How effectively is the welfare of children in the EYFS promoted?||1|
|How effectively is provision in the EYFS led and managed?||2|
|How well do learners achieve?||2|
|The standards¹ reached by learners||2|
|How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners||2|
|How well learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make progress||2|
|How good are the overall personal development and well-being of the learners?||1|
|The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||2|
|The extent to which learners adopt healthy lifestyles||1|
|The extent to which learners adopt safe practices||1|
|The extent to which learners enjoy their education||1|
|The attendance of learners||2|
|The behaviour of learners||1|
|The extent to which learners make a positive contribution to the community||2|
|How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being||1|
|How effective are teaching and learning in meeting the full range of learners' needs?||2|
|How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs and interests of learners?||2|
|How well are learners cared for, guided and supported?||1|
|How effective are leadership and management in raising achievement and supporting all learners?||2|
|How effectively leaders and managers at all levels set clear direction leading to improvement and promote high quality of care and education||2|
|How effectively leaders and managers use challenging targets to raise standards||2|
|The effectiveness of the school's self-evaluation||2|
|How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination eliminated||2|
|How well does the school contribute to community cohesion?||2|
|How effectively and efficiently resources, including staff, are deployed to achieve value for money||2|
|The extent to which governors and other supervisory boards discharge their responsibilities||2|
|Do procedures for safeguarding learners meet current government requirements?||Yes|
|Does this school require special measures?||No|
|Does this school require a notice to improve?||No|
20 March 2009
Inspection of Briar Hill Infant School, Leamington Spa CV31 2JF
Thank you for making us feel so welcome when we visited your school recently. We enjoyed talking with you and seeing all the interesting work that you do. We agree with your headteacher that your school is a good school where you are happy and learn well. Here are some of the good things we found about your school.
There are a few things that we have asked your headteacher and governing body to do to make sure that your school is even better. You can help by:
Best wishes for the future.