The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
This is a smaller than average primary school. It serves a community whose social and economic circumstances are broadly average. Most of the pupils are from White British backgrounds. A small number are from other ethnic groups. A very small number of pupils are looked after in public care. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, including those with a statement of special educational need, is average. The headteacher and deputy headteacher have joined the school since its last inspection. The school holds the Healthy Schools award, the Eco-School Bronze and Silver award, the ActiveMark 2006 award, and the Football Association Charter Standard for Schools.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a good school which is highly valued by pupils and parents. It is a happy school where parents and other visitors are made very welcome. When asked 'What is the best thing about your school?' the consistent response from pupils is 'the teachers'. Many comments from parents reflect this positive sentiment.
The success of the school is rooted in the excellent leadership of the headteacher and the outstanding work of the governing body. Their joint vision for the school generates a determination in all those involved to provide the best opportunities for every pupil. Since her appointment, the headteacher has raised the profile and aspirations of the school. An extensive refurbishment of the buildings, improvements to outside areas and well planned improvements in teaching resources have created a stimulating environment where pupils enjoy learning. Staff work enthusiastically and value the opportunities they have to contribute to the pupils' development, both socially and academically.
The quality of teaching and learning is good and pupils make good progress throughout the school. When children enter the Foundation Stage their skills are below the levels expected. Good teaching and, in particular, recent improvements in the teaching of phonics and writing, mean that by the end of Reception children's standards are close to national expectations. Well planned teaching at Key Stages 1 and 2 and good support for vulnerable pupils ensure that standards are above the national average by the end of Key Stage 2. Recent improvements in procedures for tracking the progress of pupils mean that teaching is now more closely matched to their needs. However, the school does not make good enough use of data to identify the needs of specific groups of pupils, such as gifted and talented pupils. Additionally, some lessons do not always provide an appropriate level of challenge, or give all pupils, and in particular the more able, the opportunities to progress as well as they might. Teachers assess pupils' work accurately.
The curriculum is good; it meets the needs of the pupils. The school has made it a priority to ensure that all subjects are exciting and relevant to the pupils so that they achieve well. Spanish is taught to all pupils in Years 3 to 6. The curriculum is extended well by outstanding provision for music and environmental awareness. The pupils value and enjoy attending the many clubs and extra-curricular activities they have access to.
Pupils appreciate the good care, guidance and support they receive. They feel safe and secure and know that the staff have their best interests at heart. Their response is shown in their good attendance and behaviour and their positive attitudes to learning. Pupils talk confidently about how they eat healthily and take lots of exercise. They make good progress in developing the basic skills they will need in their future life and the world of work. Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good and their contribution to the school and wider community is excellent. They enjoy taking on responsibilities, as demonstrated by the school council. Not content with acting as the pupils' voice on matters of school improvement, the school council also takes a lead on whole-school and community initiatives, including a range of charity work and the school's outstanding Eco-school project.
The dynamic leadership provided by the headteacher has developed a can-do culture within the school, based on a good self-evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. Staff at all levels show the confidence and capacity to take on responsibilities, lead initiatives and promote pupils' learning. The good progress to date indicates that the school gives good value for money and has good capacity to improve further.
What the school should do to improve further
- Make better use of assessment data to ensure that the needs of different groups of pupils, and in particular the more able, are met to raise achievement further.
Achievement and standards
Pupils' achievement is good and standards by the end of Year 6 are above average. Children begin school with weaker skills than expected for their age. Early identification of individual needs and good support mean that the children make good progress, so that by the end of the Foundation Stage standards are close to the levels expected of children of their age. Good provision at Key Stages 1 and 2 ensures that this good rate of progress is maintained, although the more able pupils are capable of doing even better. Standards at Key Stage 1 have shown a recent improvement. Attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 has steadily improved in recent years and is now above the national average in English, mathematics and science. In 2006 boys did exceptionally well and their attainment was above the national average. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make good progress, as do those whose first language is not English because of the early identification of their learning needs.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' personal development and well-being is good. The vast majority of pupils enjoy learning and this is demonstrated by their punctual and above average attendance. Sometimes they are genuinely thrilled by what they are given to do or are encouraged to be involved in. Music lessons, playing instruments and being a member of the school council are sources of great pride. The pupils are passionate when talking about these aspects. Occasionally, enthusiasm for learning is diminished slightly by teaching that does not demand the most from pupils. Pupils feel safe in school and know that adults are there to help if they are troubled. Understanding about a healthy lifestyle is first rate; this is recognised in the Healthy School award. Pupils make good progress in lessons, partly because behaviour is good and attitudes are positive. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. Strengths lie in social and moral development as a result of the excellent provision for environmental awareness.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
The good quality of teaching has a positive influence on pupils' learning. The effect of teaching in the Foundation Stage, which is good, has been strengthened recently. Successful methods have been introduced to help children make speedier progress in reading and writing. Lessons in literacy and numeracy in Years 1 to 6 are often taught well, in a way that helps the pupils to feel responsible for assessing their own performance. This is nearly always the case, but occasionally pupils are not encouraged to be so active in their participation and this slows progress to satisfactory. Pupils who find learning difficult keep up well with their work, owing to all the extra support they receive. The school has a good system of assessment which measures what the pupils can do. However, the lack of in-depth analysis of how groups of pupils perform results in some higher-attaining pupils not always receiving the correct degree of challenge.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum helps successfully to raise achievement in English, mathematics and science, although there is more to do in ensuring that higher attainers always receive the correct level of challenge. The programme to teach information and communication technology skills is much improved of late because laptops are used precisely when they are needed. The curriculum is enriched to fire pupils' imaginations and broaden their horizons well. For example, Spanish is taught in Years 3 to 6. Pupils in Year 4 all learn to play the violin, all pupils learn in depth about recycling and sustainability, and educational trips add well to pupils' understanding in history, for example. Education for health is first rate partly because physical education is stimulating and draws on the many links created within the local community. Subjects beyond English, mathematics and science are in place, but few useful connections between these subjects exist yet to make learning even more relevant and exciting.
Care, guidance and support
Parents say that the school takes good care of their children and encourages them to become mature and independent. A comprehensive induction programme and good support from staff and older pupils mean that new pupils settle in well. Similarly well established links with local high schools ensure that pupils are well prepared for their next stage of learning. Child protection procedures are in place alongside the required vetting systems for staff. Pupils are well supported. Those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are identified at an early stage. Excellent links with outside agencies and a determination to include all pupils result in the quick provision of effective support, including that from skilful teaching assistants. Pupils are aware of their learning targets and the progress they are making. Reports to parents tell them what their children know and can do, but do not give clear information about the progress they have made or the standards they have achieved.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are good overall. The headteacher and governors provide outstanding leadership. They have a clear vision of the strengths of the school and the areas for improvement. The headteacher gives very good direction and has created a very strong sense of common purpose among the staff. All leaders and managers have clear roles and responsibilities and are developing the skills needed to raise standards within their areas of responsibility, although there is some weakness in the evaluation of the impact of these changes on pupils' progress. Good links with parents and a wide range of agencies enhance teaching and learning. A well planned approach to developing the confidence and competence of teachers and teaching assistants means that the good resources of the school are used well. Staff feel well supported and all are fully involved in the life of the school. They contribute to planning school improvement. They work collaboratively to review existing practice with the aim of raising standards further. All have the opportunity to lead initiatives, as illustrated by the way the site manager has worked with the school council to achieve the Eco-school Bronze and Silver awards. Close monitoring of the work of staff and pupils and the setting of ambitious targets have raised expectations. The governors bring a wide range of skills to the school. They take their responsibilities very seriously, as illustrated by their high levels of attendance at meetings and governor training courses. They have a detailed knowledge of the strengths of the school and its areas for improvement. They monitor the work of the school closely, contribute directly to all aspects of school improvement and are confident to question and challenge the work of the school.