The inspection was carried out by one Additional Inspector who evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following issues: the quality of pupils’ personal development, the curriculum, pupils’ progress in English and the impact of leadership and management at all levels. Evidence was gathered from observing work in classrooms, the school’s own self-evaluation, scrutinising school documentation and records of pupils’ achievement and progress, and discussions with senior leaders in the school and with pupils. Other aspects of the school’s work 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 the report.
Description of the school
This is a larger than average primary school. The proportion of pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities and of those who are eligible for free school meals is higher than average. Most pupils are from White British backgrounds.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Colegate Primary is a good school and provides its pupils with a good, all-round education. The school works extremely well with a wide range of outside agencies and together these links are highly successful in ensuring all pupils have equal access to all areas of school life.
Pupils’ personal development including their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. There is a buzz within the school. It is a bright and stimulating environment where staff display pupils’ work attractively and raise their self-esteem. Attendance is satisfactory.
Good teaching across the school builds on the brisk start children get in the Nursery and Reception classes. As a result, all pupils, including those who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities, make good progress and achieve well. The 2006 results of the teachers’ assessments of Year 2 pupils were broadly average in reading, writing and mathematics and the most recent results indicate a similar picture. The national test results for Year 6 in English, mathematics and science were also average. The provisional test results of Year 6 for 2007 show a similar picture but a higher proportion of pupils reached the expected level in writing. These results reflect good progress from the pupils’ low starting points and exceeded the school’s targets. Nevertheless, standards in speaking and listening are a particular problem throughout the school.
Pupils respond well to the good teaching and the warm relationships at all levels. Their behaviour is good and they enjoy coming to school. The teachers’ planning includes many stimulating activities and, from the time they join the school, the pupils learn to work well together and help one another. The provision for teaching science is improving. Planning to include a sharper focus on speaking and listening skills is in place but is not yet effective enough. Pupils make a good contribution to the school and to the wider community. The good progress they make in their social skills, together with their skills of literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology, prepare them well for the next stage of their education and their future well-being.
The curriculum is good and planned thoughtfully to help pupils to learn to concentrate. It is enhanced by lessons which heighten pupils’ awareness of, and respect for, the diverse nature of society in artwork, dance, cooking, music, and by writing to penpals. The introduction of a modern foreign language further enhances this provision. A wide range of sporting and recreational clubs and the expertise of outside specialist staff support pupils’ physical development well. As a result, pupils have a good understanding of what they need to do to stay fit and healthy. The school has achieved a Basic Skills Award, a Silver Artsmark, a Healthy School Award, an International Education Award, Investor in People and an Active school award. These are all fine examples of how the school helps pupils to succeed in their personal and academic development.
Teachers and support staff understand the needs of their pupils well and give them good care, guidance and support. Support for the pupils’ personal development is good. Induction procedures are very good and this is equally true for the guidance pupils receive when they transfer to the next stage of their education. Parents are confident that the school is providing their children with a safe, secure and caring environment for learning. Parents’ comments are overwhelmingly positive in their praise for the way the school encourages their children. The school keeps careful checks of pupils’ progress in reading, writing and mathematics and uses this information well to ensure that all pupils are set realistic targets.
The headteacher gives clear direction to the work of the school and a strong lead to the staff and governors. Administrative staff ensure the day-to-day running of the school is effective. There is a real sense of teamwork; staff are deployed well and the arrangements for their professional development ensure everyone has the skills knowledge and understanding to carry out their roles diligently. Teaching assistants are also included in regular updating of their skills and their input to pupils’ development makes a valuable contribution to that of the class teachers. A regular programme of monitoring ensures subject leaders have a good understanding of what goes on in their subjects. At present, the school lacks systems to present a clear overview of the progress pupils make. The school’s leadership and management are good and their self-evaluation is accurate. The governing body is well informed and committed to working with the school to make a difference to the lives of all the pupils. The good progress since the last inspection, especially in the provision for science, shows the school has a good capacity for continued improvement and gives good value for money.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
When they arrive in the Nursery the skills and knowledge of most children are much lower than those typically found at this age and many have poor social, speaking and listening skills. They make good progress, which continues through their time in Reception. Induction procedures are very good. All staff ensure children are welcomed into a warm and bright environment where they feel safe and settle well. Children are quick to respond to the high expectations that they should behave well. Teaching, learning, and the curriculum are good; staff organise stimulating activities which pupils enjoy. Staff make good use of the indoor and outdoor spaces where children play and explore in a wide range of activities. The children grow in confidence and begin to work together, learning to share equipment and to take part in group activities. Leadership and management are good. Regular checks are made of how well children are doing, and there is a growing focus on developing children’s speaking skills to help them to communicate clearly. Parents are encouraged to take a keen interest in helping their children, for example, by sharing books with them. Despite their good progress, only a very small proportion of the children reach the levels expected of this age by the end of the Reception year. The exception to this is that most children do achieve the expected levels in their physical development.
What the school should do to improve further
- Place even more emphasis on speaking and listening throughout the school to help pupils to make better progress in their communication skills.
- Refine the system for recording the pupils’ progress so that they and their teachers have a better understanding of what they need to do to improve.