Christ Church CofE First School
Headteacher: Mrs Sarah Bullmore
Diocese of Bath and Wells
211 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||123757|
|Inspection dates||15–16 March 2010|
|Reporting inspector||Shirley Billington|
|Type of school||First|
|School category||Voluntary controlled|
|Age range of pupils||3–9|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||180|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||26 April 2007|
|School address||Feltham Lane|
|Telephone number||01373 463781|
|Fax number||01373 463781|
|Inspection dates||15–16 March 2010|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by three additional inspectors. Inspectors observed 13 lessons, sampled a variety of small-group activities and saw seven teachers teaching. They held discussions with pupils, staff and governors. They observed the school's work and looked at a range of documentation including curriculum planning, the school improvement plan and records of pupils' progress. Forty-seven questionnaires returned by parents and carers were scrutinised.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following:
Information about the school
This is an average sized first school in which the majority of pupils are White British. A small minority are of Gypsy/Roma heritage. There are also a few pupils from other minority ethnic groups, some of whom are learning English as an additional language. A high proportion of pupils have special educational needs and/or learning difficulties. Most of these pupils have moderate or severe learning difficulties: a minority have emotional and behavioural difficulties or need support with speech and communication; and a few have physical disabilities. A small number of these pupils are supported in a nurture group.
A children's centre, managed by the headteacher, shares the school site. The centre, and the nursery class which is based there, were subject to separate inspections in 2009 and therefore were not included in this inspection.
|Inspection grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate|
|Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms|
Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?
The school's capacity for sustained improvement
A significant strength of the school is the good pastoral care provided, an aspect praised by many parents and carers. Several made comments such as, 'I am very appreciative of the extra help given to me and my child' and commended 'a welcoming and supportive ethos'. The school's efforts to engage with parents and carers are outstanding. Pupils and their families are very well known and the school is proactive in supporting those who need additional help. Close links with the children's centre and with a range of agencies ensure that programmes of support for individuals are carefully tailored to their needs. Pupils benefit from a wide range of opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities and from special events such as the recent celebration of Gypsy/Roma traditions. They make a good contribution to the school and local community and regularly participate in fund-raising for those less fortunate than themselves. Pupils feel very safe in school and have a good understanding of what they need to do to stay healthy.
The high proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities, usually between 50% and 60% in each year group, has an impact on the school's performance in national tests and assessments. Attainment is low in English and mathematics. School leaders recognise that, while it is unlikely that performance will match national average levels, attainment is below average in comparison with similar schools. Most pupils who do not have learning difficulties attain levels in line with expectations by the end of Year 4, but there are some that could be doing better, particularly the more able. Recent meetings to discuss progress have focused particularly on these pupils and their end-of-year targets have been revised upwards.
Senior leaders have accurately identified where improvements are needed and have introduced effective measures to improve pupils' skills in literacy. These are already having a marked impact in the Early Years Foundation Stage, where provision is good. The strong focus on developing children's language and the introduction of a well-structured programme for teaching letters and sounds are underpinning good progress in reading and writing. Regular opportunities to learn about the number system have already resulted in children's attainment in this aspect of learning being close to national averages by the end of Reception. This good start is beginning to be reflected in Years 1 and 2, where progress is accelerating. Predictions for the attainment of current Year 2 pupils at the end of this academic year show that the upward trend seen in 2009 is set to continue, particularly in reading and mathematics. The success of these recent initiatives and senior leaders' continuing commitment to raising attainment for all pupils demonstrate the school's sound capacity for sustained improvement.
Lessons throughout the school are characterised by good relationships and effective strategies for behaviour management. Teachers are keenly aware that they are catering for a wide range of needs in each class. Activities are adapted to take account of this but there are occasions when the pace of learning is too leisurely and teachers' expectations are too low, particularly of more able pupils. Pupils are not always aware of the purpose of the activities they are undertaking. While teachers set targets for the next steps in learning, pupils themselves rarely know what these are and what they need to do to improve.
The school has comprehensive systems for tracking pupils' progress. The information is well used to identify individuals who need extra support and to provide a wide range of interventions to meet their needs. However, the information is not summarised to evaluate the overall gains made by different groups of pupils throughout the school.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
Pupils generally enjoy learning, particularly when they are engaged in practical and collaborative activities. This was apparent in a Year 4 lesson when several pupils worked well in pairs to 'round up' a random series of two- and three-digit numbers to enable them to add and subtract more efficiently. Most pupils are making progress at expected rates, albeit in very small steps for those with significant learning difficulties. Pupils who have had additional support to improve their reading skills have made rapid progress as a result of a well-structured intervention programme. More able pupils sometimes mark time in lessons, particularly in introductory sessions, when they revisit concepts that they have already grasped.
Pupils are keen to participate in competitions and sporting activities and are proud of their school's successes. Many show sensitive awareness of the needs of others, for example, those who find it difficult to control their behaviour. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities are fully included in all activities. Pupils in the early stages of learning English develop a good understanding of the language and often demonstrate a good degree of confidence in contributing to class and small-group discussions.
These are the grades for pupils' outcomes
|Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning|
Taking into account:
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their progress
|The extent to which pupils feel safe||2|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles||2|
|The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community||2|
|The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being|
Taking into account:
|The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||2|
1 The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4 is low
Teaching and the curriculum are being increasingly well adapted to engage pupils' interests and meet their diverse needs. Links across subjects are developing well, allowing better opportunities for pupils to research information, for example, in history, and to write for a variety of purposes. The use of information and communication technology (ICT) is more limited, but the school recognises scope for further development in this area. A wealth of opportunities for pupils to participate in sports-related activities, to get involved in special events, to learn to play an instrument and to work with artists and authors extends their experiences and enhances their personal development.
Teaching assistants are well used to support learning. They have a significant impact in supporting individual pupils with specific needs and in contributing to good management of behaviour in lessons. Lessons are generally more successful in taking account of the high proportion of pupils with special educational needs than in providing challenge for the more able. While learning objectives are identified in planning, these are not routinely shared with pupils so they are not always clear about what they need to achieve in a lesson. The lack of targets that are easily understandable inhibits pupils' ability to identify what they are aiming for and what they need to do to improve.
The nurture group has a significant impact in supporting several pupils who find it difficult to benefit from what the school offers. Good systems support their reintegration into mainstream lessons and there are some striking examples of ways in which barriers to learning have been overcome. Parents praise the inclusive nature of the school, making comments such as, 'My child has learned acceptance, tolerance and empathy.' The school works hard to promote regular attendance, involving relevant agencies to support individual families who find it difficult to get children to school on time each day.
These are the grades for the quality of provision
|The quality of teaching|
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
|The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant, through partnerships||3|
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||2|
Leaders at all levels share a determination to improve attainment and to ensure that pupils of all abilities make the best possible progress. Weak teaching has been eradicated as a result of determined action and additional support from senior leaders. A range of initiatives has been introduced to address this aim. While it is too early to see the impact of many of these, the school is moving firmly in the right direction. Governors are well organised to fulfil their responsibilities but lack detailed information on the school's performance, and thus are not in a position to ask challenging questions about the achievement of different groups of pupils. While the school has pertinent information on the performance of pupils in each year group, this is not summarised to enable an overall evaluation of, for example, the extent to which boys and girls are making equally good progress throughout the school.
Good arrangements are in place to keep pupils safe. Good liaison with a range of agencies contributes effectively to supporting individual pupils' well-being. Pupils from a wide range of backgrounds, and with a variety of specific and sometimes complex needs, are welcomed and the school is a cohesive community. Links with the local community are also strong. Pupils' awareness of different traditions and lifestyles around the world is raised through specific initiatives such as a link with a school in Warsaw.
These are the grades for leadership and management
|The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement|
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
|The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the|
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
|The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers||1|
|The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||3|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||3|
Reception classes are very well organised to provide a range of stimulating activities that encourage children to explore, experiment and extend their understanding. A good balance between adult-led and child-initiated tasks supports learning for children of all abilities. A high level of adult support means that children's confidence and ability to express their ideas are well supported. There is a good focus on developing language and on teaching key skills in early literacy and numeracy. Regular work on letters and sounds, for example, is resulting in children transferring their knowledge to read captions and simple texts and to begin to write independently. Children start school with skills and knowledge that are generally very limited. They make good progress, particularly in their personal, social and emotional development and in their knowledge of number. While attainment by the end of the Reception Year is still well below expectations, it is improving, particularly in communication, language and literacy. The proportion of children that are on course to reach expected levels at the end of this year is higher than in previous years.
Individual children's progress is carefully tracked through regular observation and focused assessments. Information is shared with parents and they are encouraged to contribute to their children's learning diaries and to follow up activities at home. Good teamwork across the Reception classes ensures that resources are well deployed and allows children to make good use of the outdoor area. Stimulating activities are provided that are particularly successful in supporting children's personal and social skills and their physical and creative development, as well as extending their knowledge and understanding of the world. A large tray of semi-set jelly, for example, engaged a good deal of interest and provoked lively discussion about its colour, texture and feel, as well as being a lot of fun!
These are the grades for the Early Years Foundation Stage
|Overall effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage|
Taking into account:
Outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The quality of provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The effectiveness of leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation
Almost all parents are positive about every aspect of the school. They are all happy about the quality of their children's experiences. Many commented on the approachability of staff and expressed appreciation of the work that they do to ensure that their children's individual needs are met.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Christ Church CE First School to complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13 statements about the school.
The inspection team received 49 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 180 pupils registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||36||73||13||27||0||0||0||0|
|The school keeps my child safe||37||76||11||22||0||0||0||0|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||37||76||11||22||1||2||0||0|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||40||82||8||16||1||2||0||0|
|The teaching is good at this school||42||86||7||14||0||0||0||0|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||39||80||9||18||1||2||0||0|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||32||65||17||35||0||0||0||0|
|The school makes sure that my child is well prepared for the future (for example changing year group, changing school, and for children who are finishing school, entering further or higher education, or entering employment)||32||65||14||29||1||2||0||0|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||37||76||12||24||0||0||0||0|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||37||76||10||20||1||2||1||2|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||35||71||14||29||0||0||0||0|
|The school is led and managed effectively||40||82||9||18||0||0||0||0|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||44||90||4||8||0||0||0||0|
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.
|Grade 1||Outstanding||These features are highly effective. An oustanding school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils' needs.|
|Grade 2||Good||These are very positive features of a school. A school that is good is serving its pupils well.|
|Grade 3||Satisfactory||These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory school is providing adequately for its pupils.|
|Grade 4||Inadequate||These features are not of an acceptable standard. An inadequate school needs to make significant improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils. Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it improves.|
|Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)|
|Type of school||Outstanding||Good||Satisfactory||Inadequate|
|Pupil referral |
the progress and success of a pupil in their learning, development or training.
the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and examination results and in lessons.
|Capacity to improve:|
the proven ability of the school to continue improving. Inspectors base this judgement on what the school has accomplished so far and on the quality of its systems to maintain improvement.
|Leadership and management:|
the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities, not just the headteacher, to identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff and running the school.
how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their understanding, learn and practise skills and are developing their competence as learners.
inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall effectiveness based on the findings from their inspection of the school. The following judgements, in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness judgement will be.
the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and over longer periods of time. It is often measured by comparing the pupils' attainment at the end of a key stage with their attainment when they started.
18 March 2010
Inspection of Christ Church CE First School, Frome, BA11 5AJ
You may remember that three of us visited recently to see how you are getting on. Thank you for talking to us about your work in lessons and what goes on around the school. Particular thanks to the groups of Years 3 and 4 pupils who met with us. I thought you might be interested in what I am saying in my report. Your school provides you with a sound education and does some things particularly well.
Some of the highlights are these.
We have suggested three things that the school needs to do now.
You can help by making sure that you know what to do to reach your targets. Thank you again for all your help.
|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. If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 08456 404045, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.|