The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
The school is larger than many schools of its type. Most pupils are from the Chaddesden district of Derby. An above average proportion of the pupils are entitled to free school meals. The majority are White British with a very small proportion from other backgrounds. Very few pupils are at an early stage of learning English as an additional language. The number of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is broadly average. Most of these pupils have specific learning difficulties.
The school has the Health Promoting Schools and Activemark awards. It is part of an Excellence Cluster of schools, which is intended to raise standards. The headteacher has been in post for less than two years.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a satisfactory and improving school. Steps taken to raise standards are beginning to show in pupils' better progress and improved educational provision. The improvements made since the last inspection, especially links with the infant school and assessment and marking, indicate that the school has a satisfactory capacity to improve further. Parents' views are largely positive.
Pupils achieve satisfactorily but inconsistently throughout the school due to differences in the quality of teaching and learning. The school's assessment information shows that standards at the end of Year 6 this year are broadly average and are higher than those reached in 2007. Progress is satisfactory, but some of the more able pupils make less progress than they should. Pupils who find learning more difficult make satisfactory progress because of the positive support provided by teaching assistants and the learning mentor. Those with physical difficulties are fully included in the life of the school and make satisfactory progress in line with their peers.
Pupils' personal development and well-being are good. They have a good awareness of how to keep themselves healthy and safe. Behaviour is good and attendance is broadly average because they enjoy school. Pupils make a good contribution to the community, which is the result of their good social and moral development. The standards achieved in literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology help prepare pupils satisfactorily for their future lives.
Teaching and learning are satisfactory and occasionally good. Where the teaching is strongest, lessons are lively and involve all pupils actively in their learning. Satisfactory teaching is characterised by slower-paced lessons where pupils are less involved and the more able are not challenged sufficiently. The school does not do enough to spread the good teaching practices present to benefit the whole school. The curriculum is satisfactory and staff work hard to strengthen it with the new literacy and numeracy guidance. Care, guidance and support are satisfactory overall but the recently introduced systems for tracking pupils' progress are not fully embedded in the day-to-day work of the school. Pupils are very aware of targets set for them. The school's pastoral care is good and statutory safeguarding arrangements are in place.
Leadership and management are satisfactory. The headteacher has a sound grasp of what the school needs to do to improve. Self-evaluation is largely accurate but is not sufficiently formal. The senior leaders and subject leaders have recently begun to monitor the teaching more rigorously. This is yet to have much impact on classroom practice. Some school planning is not sufficiently detailed or focused on raising standards to ensure improvement. Whole-school targets are insufficiently challenging. The governing body does not adequately hold the school to account, especially with regard to achievement and teaching and learning. However, a number of initiatives have been introduced that are beginning to have a positive impact on standards. More assessment data is now collected to identify how well pupils are doing. Initiatives to improve behaviour are successful and the work of teaching assistants benefits from the restructuring of their activities.
What the school should do to improve further
- Raise standards and improve the consistency of progress made in English, mathematics and science, especially that of more able pupils.
- Improve leadership at all levels so that target setting and improvement planning are more challenging.
- Improve the quality of teaching and learning by more rigorous monitoring and by spreading the good practice that exists.
- Develop the role of the governing body so that it can play a full part in the school's improvement.
A small proportion of the schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory but which have areas of underperformance will receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.
Achievement and standards
Pupils' attainment on entry to the school is average. Although standards are broadly average by the end of Year 6, they are improving and achievement is better now than it was last year. In 2007, Year 6 pupils achieved well below the levels expected nationally. Action taken by the school has enabled the current Year 6 to make better progress, especially in English and mathematics. The school has improved the achievement of boys in Year 6 to bring their standards up to those of the girls, a performance better than the national picture for boys. The achievement found in other year groups varies due to the inconsistent quality of the teaching and learning, but recent changes to the literacy curriculum are having a positive impact. Pupils of lower ability make satisfactory and, occasionally, good progress, especially when they are supported by teaching assistants or the learning mentor. However, the progress made by more able pupils means that relatively few reach the higher than expected Level 5 in the national tests. Standards in Spanish in Years 3 and 4 are above those usually found at this age.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. In a Year 5 philosophy lesson, pupils confidently reflected on 'meaning' and 'purpose', successfully learning how to analyse ideas and opinions. Pupils relate positively to one another and appreciate each other's views. They enjoy being at school and generally behave well in lessons and around the site. Relationships between staff and pupils are good and pupils are confident that they can talk to adults about any personal concerns. They are adopting healthy lifestyles with an emphasis on healthy eating and sport. The school's healthy tuck shop is popular, run by pupils and is well supported. Pupils feel that they are listened to, and are learning to take their responsibilities seriously. Work by the school council is of a particularly high standard. These pupils make a good contribution to the school community through, for example, a 'buddy system' where older pupils support younger ones. Pupils contribute well to local and national charities.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning are satisfactory. Well-taught lessons are interesting and lively. They have good resources, good question and answer sessions, and good opportunities for pupils to explain their thinking either to the whole class or to each other. This happens, for example, in Spanish and the best literacy lessons. The grouping of pupils of similar ability helps teachers plan for a narrower ability range, but not enough account is taken of the different abilities and prior attainments of those in each group. In particular, too many teachers pitch their lessons at a middle point and do not provide sufficient challenge for the more able. The school has recently begun to put more emphasis on the learning of more able pupils, and those who are gifted and talented, but this is not yet evident in every classroom. Lesson planning does not always make it clear what outcomes are expected from the session. Teachers are very well supported by teaching assistants. Marking is of inconsistent quality, but is often informative, especially in literacy. Teachers and pupils have satisfactory working relationships and this encourages the pupils to take an active part in lessons.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum is satisfactory and puts a suitable emphasis on literacy and numeracy. There have been positive developments since the last inspection, such as the introduction of a modern foreign language, increased time for physical education and in the use of ICT. Subject leaders have increased responsibilities. Positive responses, for example to the provision for literacy, are leading to improvement. A recent initiative to identify gaps in the curriculum is allowing the school to ensure that new developments are not at the expense of existing worthwhile activities. This change has not been in place long enough to show positive results in pupils' progress generally. Learning, particularly in sport, is enriched and well supported by the positive links with the local specialist sports college and sports teams in the community. Pupils greatly enjoy these opportunities.
Care, guidance and support
Pupils' personal development is a high priority for the school and staff respond to pupils' concerns promptly. The school makes good use of outside agencies to support and guide pupils. The learning mentor provides outstanding support to pupils and families. The needs of pupils who are behind in their work are identified early and ways found to support their learning are effective. The teaching assistants make a particularly valuable contribution to ensuring that needs are met. The school has implemented helpful systems for tracking individual pupils' progress throughout the school. The use of these systems is at an early stage and the school is aware it needs to do more to assess and meet the needs of the more able. Pupils know their targets in English and mathematics. Teachers' marking of pupils' work to help move them forward is variable, although usually good in English.
Leadership and management
Whilst the systems for improving the work of the school require greater rigour, the senior leadership team correctly evaluates the school's overall strengths and weaknesses in teaching and learning. Appropriate systems have been recently introduced, in order to track pupils' progress and set them challenging targets. However, this information is not yet analysed well enough by all leaders for them to know precisely which areas are priorities, so that they can make improvements to teaching as efficiently as possible. The governors support the school but do not hold it to account. They are not rigorous enough in challenging the standards of pupils' work. Improvement since the last inspection is satisfactory. Actions taken by the recently formed senior leadership team are starting to have a positive impact on raising pupils' achievement.