The inspection was carried out by one Additional Inspector.
The inspector evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following issues: pupils' achievement in mathematics; the quality of academic guidance; the quality of the curriculum. Evidence was gathered from observations of lessons; discussions with pupils and scrutiny of their work; discussions with the staff and governors; analysis of the school's documents and parents' questionnaires. Other aspects were not investigated in detail, but the inspector 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.
Description of the school
This school is average in size and serves an area which has relatively high social and economic advantage. An average proportion of pupils is eligible for free school meals. The number identified as having learning difficulties and/or disabilities is average, though well above average for those with a statement of special educational need. The Educational Inclusion Base within the school admits, in Year 3, pupils with moderate learning difficulties. Twelve pupils attend the base each morning for English and mathematics and join their year group for afternoon lessons. Most pupils are of White British heritage. The school has gained a number of awards including Healthy Schools, Activemark, Artsmark and Investors in People.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a good school with outstanding features. Pupils flourish in its very caring, warm and welcoming atmosphere and, consequently, make outstanding progress in their personal development and achieve well academically. Excellent partnerships, for example, with parents and within the locality, help pupils to feel a strong sense of belonging and, as a result, they are very eager to contribute positively to all aspects of school life. Parents overwhelmingly appreciate what the school provides, saying, 'children develop into well rounded individuals', and, 'children have fabulous opportunities to develop socially as well as academically'. The school is accurate in its view of its own effectiveness and provides good value for money.
Most pupils start Reception with skills typical for their age. Standards reached by the end of Year 6 have risen steadily since the last inspection and, in 2007, were above the national average in English, mathematics and science for all pupils, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Good quality teaching and support from skilful teaching assistants enable all pupils, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and those most vulnerable, to progress well. Consequently, achievement for all pupils is good. Through end of year assessments, teachers identified that a number of more able pupils were making slower progress in mathematics than in reading and writing in Year 2. To address this, they have provided more opportunities within the curriculum for pupils, in particular the more able, to be given more challenging activities to develop their skills in mathematics. The impact of this is seen in the good progress made by more able pupils in the current Year 1 to 6 classes.
Pupils are excellent ambassadors for the school. Their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Behaviour is excellent and their attendance is above average. Pupils treat their classmates and, in particular, those who arrive in Year 3, with dignity and respect. They are proud to share what they do to promote healthy and safe lifestyles; for example, the daily pupil massage sessions aid relaxation and promote pupils' well-being very effectively. Pupils thoroughly enjoy learning because the outstanding curriculum includes an exciting and challenging range of enriching experiences, both in lessons and beyond the normal school day. These include the opportunity to learn to speak German and to develop their musical and sporting interests and talents.
Pupils' growing confidence and maturity is seen in the wide range of responsibilities they eagerly undertake. Pupils who are school councillors and playground leaders ensure that everyone is happy and safe in school and in the playground, helping younger children to benefit to the full from the activities available. The school takes every opportunity to involve pupils in the community through, for example, involving them in deciding which fund-raising ventures they wish to support. This well developed sense of community prepares them well for their future lives.
Within the good teaching there are some first-rate features. For example, the lively and exciting way mathematics lessons are taught in Years 1 to 6. These lessons expertly link estimation and investigation skills with design, technology and mathematical skills and they are extremely popular. They contribute both to pupils' enjoyment and the good and improving standards being reached in this subject. Similarly, as a result of the improvements to provision for information and communication technology, pupils have many opportunities to practise these skills across the subjects of the curriculum.
Good leadership and management have ensured that all previous inspection issues have been tackled and that the school has moved on effectively. It is in a good position to improve even further. Governance is of a good quality. Arrangements are in place to promote child protection, and health and safety. Although leaders and managers are extremely committed and supportive, they do not monitor or use information about pupils' progress regularly enough in order to have a clear picture of whether all pupils are on track to reach their targets. This is one of the reasons why the slower progress of more able pupils in mathematics was not identified quickly enough to take action last year. A key factor in the school's improvement and overall effectiveness is the outstanding leadership of the headteacher. Making sure that every child is nurtured in the excellent caring and supportive environment so that they can reach their full potential, is never off his agenda. As a result, pupils thrive and standards are rising, particularly in mathematics.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children join Reception with skills that are typical for their age. They settle happily into the stimulating, lively environment and become successful learners who work together well and show positive attitudes in all activities. They enjoy the wide range of learning opportunities provided, whether teacher led or independent. They make good progress and, by the end of Reception, achieve skills that are above those expected at this age. This is as a result of the good teaching and excellent personal care and support they receive. Daily sessions focusing on letters and sounds help to boost their early reading and writing skills well. The outside learning area is used effectively to encourage children's social development and skills across all areas of learning and has improved significantly since the last inspection. There are excellent partnerships with parents, who appreciate the welcoming ethos and excellent care their children receive. Links with the pre-school located in the school building are well developed and enable a smooth transition from Nursery to Reception. Leadership and management are good. Staff communicate regularly and are clear about how well individual children are getting on. The information about the small day-to-day steps in children's progress is used well to ensure that activities help children to build on what they can already do.
What the school should do to improve further
- Refine and strengthen tracking systems in order to monitor pupils' progress more closely.