The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Brockton Church of England School is a smaller than average sized primary school. All of the pupils are from White British backgrounds. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is well below the national average. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is below average. When pupils arrive at the school in Reception, their skills and knowledge vary significantly from year to year, from broadly average to above average. In recent years there have been significant staff changes. A new permanent headteacher took up post in September 2006.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Brockton provides a good quality of education for its pupils and this is reflected in the school's own evaluation of its performance. Good care, support and guidance, together with outstanding opportunities to engage in extra activities, contributes towards pupils' outstanding personal development and well-being. The school places a high priority on promoting social skills and moral understanding. This is reflected in pupils' very positive attitudes to learning and confident relationships with each other. Pupils enjoy school, particularly the rich variety of experiences beyond the mainstream curriculum. Pupils are safe, healthy and well cared for so that they develop confidence and pride in their school. Pupils happily take responsibility. Through the school council pupils voice their views on a wide range of issues, including the environment and the curriculum. Their concern for others is demonstrated by the many fund raising events they organise. Pupils develop good basic skills which prepare them for later life.
Children in Reception (Foundation Stage) make good progress and many reach and exceed the expected levels for their age. Elsewhere in the school almost all pupils also achieve well and reach above-average standards by the end of Year 6. This is because of good teaching and learning and the excellent support many parents give to the school. Understandably, given the small numbers in each year group, standards and results vary from year to year. Results in national tests were disappointing in 2006 when pupils underachieved. This was particularly the case in mathematics. Work seen during the inspection confirms that standards in mathematics are rising throughout the school as a result of improved teaching and strategies introduced by the new headteacher. However, because subject leaders have a limited role in monitoring the work in their subjects the rate of improvement in pupils' standards has not been consistently strong throughout the school. Additionally, opportunities are being missed to improve pupils' skills in mathematics and writing in work in other subjects in Years 3 to 6. Teachers are enthusiastic and well organised, and this helps to make learning fun. However, marking is not consistent and does not always tell the pupil how to move forward.
The school offers pupils a good curriculum. Pupils thoroughly enjoy their time on the many excellent residential visits the school organises. Leadership and management, including governance, are good. Self-evaluation is effective and the headteacher and governors have a clear and accurate view of the school's strengths and where improvement are needed. Leaders are providing staff with high quality guidance and training, which is bringing about improvements, for example, in the quality of teaching. As a result the school has good capacity to improve further.
What the school should do to improve further
- Raise standards of pupils' writing and mathematical skills even further by broadening opportunities for their use in all subjects.
- Extend the role of the subject leaders in monitoring and evaluating the work in their subjects.
- Improve the quality of marking to ensure it always helps pupils to know what they need to do to improve.
Achievement and standards
Children make good progress in Reception, particularly in their personal development because younger pupils often have the opportunity to work with older pupils and are given challenging activities. By the end of Year 2 and Year 6 standards are above those expected nationally for their age and their achievement is good. Pupils speak well and have excellent listening skills. Standards are above average in science and pupils have a good understanding of investigation techniques. Standards in writing are improving. Whilst regular spelling tests and sessions to improve handwriting are now leading to pupils acquiring good habits, opportunities for pupils to improve their writing skills in all subjects are insufficient in Years 3 to 6. Progress is therefore not as rapid as it could be. Similarly, whilst standards in mathematics are above average, pupils are not given the range of opportunities to practise their developing skills within some subjects. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make similarly good progress to other pupils because of the good support and guidance they receive.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' social development is outstanding. School councillors are proud of the role they play in shaping their school and talk enthusiastically of what they have done and what they want to do. Although pupils are taught about other faiths in their religious education lessons, pupils have limited awareness that they live in a very culturally diverse society.
Pupils' social, moral, spiritual and cultural development are good with some outstanding features. Pupils enjoy their lessons which means they have very positive attitudes towards learning. Pupils' behaviour is excellent and they work well together, being quick to offer support to each other. For example, Year 6 pupils really enjoy reading with younger children. Attendance is above the national average and again reflects how much pupils like coming to school. Pupils speak knowledgeably about how to live a healthy lifestyle: eating fruit, vegetables, drinking water and taking plenty of exercise. They know when to say 'No' to a stranger. The contribution they make to the school community and the local community, is very good. Pupils use their initiative to raise money, for example, by running stalls at the school fete, or raising money for the new goalposts. As their basic skills are also good they are well prepared for later life.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning are good. Teachers plan a range of interesting activities and as a result most pupils are eager to learn. Working relationships between staff and pupils are particularly good. Pupils respond very well to teachers' consistent expectations of behaviour and hard work. Typically in lessons praise is well used and this increases pupils' motivation to achieve. Homework is well organised and this allows many parents to make an important contribution to their children's learning. A recent positive innovation enables parents to work with their children in the classroom at the start of each day. This has provided the basis for excellent dialogue and communication. It has also enabled teachers to set standards and make parents aware of the level of expectation and the challenges available to the pupils. Marking, however, is not used consistently across the school and when it is used it does not always provide constructive comments that will help pupils to improve.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum is good. However, opportunities are missed to develop and improve pupils' writing and mathematical skills in the teaching of all subjects. The additional learning opportunities provided are a strength of the school. There are many opportunities for the pupils to experience a wide range of visits, sports and musical activities, all of which enhance their learning very well. The most notable are the numerous camping trips to countries such as Ireland, not just for the older pupils, but also from the Reception children upwards. The pupils speak very enthusiastically about these. There are very good links with local schools, particularly for sporting activities, dance and music festivals. The programme for personal, social and health education is very good and as a result pupils are very aware of the need for a healthy lifestyle.
Care, guidance and support
The care, guidance and support of pupils are good. The school is a harmonious place where everyone shows respect and care for each other. There is always an adult available for pupils to confide in. Staff are very committed to providing a safe and stimulating environment and know their pupils well. Good health and safety, child protection and risk assessment procedures are securely in place. Each visit undertaken by the pupils is carefully assessed for risks. Pupils are set clear objectives for their work in lessons, but they are not always clear about targets for raising the overall standards of their work or what they have to do to achieve them.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are good. The able leadership of the new headteacher, effectively supported by governors, is reflected in the school's determination to be even better. The vast majority of parents express extremely positive views about the school, praising in particular the new headteacher, how pupils are treated as individuals and how they are listened to in helping the school to become even better. Professional development is taken seriously so that all staff have a sense of their accountability for the success of their areas. The school improvement plan is tightly focused on addressing the most important issues. Effective systems for monitoring and evaluation at a senior level mean that leaders show a clear understanding of where improvements are needed. The monitoring roles of subject leaders are not developed fully and as a result there is inconsistent application of new teaching strategies being introduced, which is affecting the achievement of some pupils. Governors have a good understanding of the school's strengths and needs. They challenge and evaluate initiatives effectively and are closely involved in the school's strategic development, for example, in improving the school environment.