The inspection was carried out by an Additional Inspector.
The inspector evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following aspects: how well leadership and management were improving provision, and pupils' progress in writing and mathematics, particularly for the more able.
Evidence was gathered from lesson observations, a scrutiny of pupils' work and school documentation. An analysis of the parents' questionnaires and discussions with pupils, governors and staff also contributed to the judgements. 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 form, were not justified, and these have been included where appropriate in this report.
Description of the school
Collingwood is a larger than average size primary school. The vast majority of pupils come from the local area of South Woodham Ferrers. Most pupils are from a White British background. Very few pupils speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils who need additional support is below average. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is also below average. The headteacher took up her post in September 2006.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Collingwood Primary is a good school. Pupils achieve well because the quality of teaching is good and by the end of Year 6, the standards pupils attain are above average. The good care, guidance and support provided by the staff results in pupils' good personal development.
Parents are very pleased with both the care and education provided for their children. In the parental questionnaires, parents commented very positively on the staff's openness, the good quality of teaching, improved pupil progress and better communication. The following comments summed up the views of many, 'The teaching staff are approachable at all times,' 'Children are making good progress thanks to good teaching,' 'Communication with the parents has greatly improved with the introduction of a fantastic newsletter. I have been especially pleased that teachers keep me informed about my children's progress and their targets.'
Leadership and management are good and focus effectively on pupils' learning and achievement. The headteacher provides good educational direction for the school. Other leadership roles and responsibilities are more effectively shared and developed than at the time of the last inspection. Leaders' monitoring and evaluation skills are developing well. Performance is systematically reviewed and the findings are used effectively to plan improvements. The resulting priorities, such as raising achievement and standards in writing and mathematics for the more able, are accurate and appropriate. Recent improvements to assessment and individual target setting are improving pupils' learning. Governors support the school and have a good understanding of its performance and current improvement priorities.
Teachers have good relationships with their pupils. They make the purpose of lessons clear so pupils know what they are expected to learn. Staff's clear instructions, demonstrations and explanations promote learning well. Teachers now use assessment more effectively to match activities and tasks to pupils' abilities and needs. When this happens, pupils are challenged well and make good gains in their learning. Occasionally, there is an over-reliance on worksheets, which restricts pupils' ability to plan and organise their own work. A few lessons are led too much by teachers and pupils are not actively involved in their learning.
Children in Reception make a sound start to their education. By Year 2, standards are just above average overall. In 2007, pupils achieved most success in reading; fewer pupils did as well in writing and mathematics. The school is working to improve this. In the same year, national test results for Year 6 pupils were above average in English, mathematics and science. Information about pupils' progress shows that they made good progress from Years 3 to 6 in all three subjects. Progress in mathematics improved last year because of action taken by the school. Staff training, along with targeting specific pupil groups, and increases in problem-solving work contributed to this. The school is improving the range of opportunities for pupils to write, but there are insufficient opportunities for pupils to apply and develop writing in a range of subjects. While improving writing is a whole school priority, there are are few examples of pupils' written work on display. The school has tackled the progress of the more able in mathematics well but leaders are aware that there is scope to challenge the more able in writing further. Pupils who find learning difficult make good progress because they receive helpful support.
The curriculum promotes pupils' good progress and contributes well to their personal development. The school is developing better links between subjects; this approach is adding meaning and relevance to pupils' learning. Imaginative activities, such as a 'victory' party as the culmination of Years' 5 and 6 World War II studies, greatly enhance their enjoyment and engagement. Information and communication technology (ICT) is used well to support teaching and learning in a range of areas. A good range of clubs, visits and visitors enrich pupils' learning. Pupils thoroughly enjoy these aspects of school life.
Pastoral care is good and there are effective procedures to ensure that pupils are safe and secure at school. There are now effective systems to assess and track pupils' attainment and progress. Pupils have specific personal learning targets in reading, writing and mathematics, so they know what they need to do to improve. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. Pupils thoroughly enjoy school and this is reflected by their good attendance and keen participation in all activities. Behaviour is often exemplary, this is because staff have clear expectations and there are good relationships between adults and pupils. Pupils adopt healthy lifestyles and show an excellent understanding of the importance of healthy eating and exercising regularly. They have a good understanding of staying safe. They contribute well to the wider community by organising events, which raise funds for well-known charities. At Collingwood, pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education because by the time they leave, they have good skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT. In addition to these, their personal and social skills are very well developed.
The school systematically reviews its performance and takes positive action to bring about needed improvements. Recent improvements to assessment, to pupils' progress in mathematics and the maintenance of above average standards by Year 6, demonstrate a good capacity to improve.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children's attainment when they start school is broadly typical for their age. By the end of Reception, standards are in line with national expectations. Children enjoy their learning and relate well with adults and other children. They quickly settle into routines and make good gains in their personal development. They make satisfactory progress in other areas of learning. Children benefit from teachers' clear instructions and explanations. They are keen to participate in the satisfactory range of activities provided. At times, their work is over-directed and this restricts children's opportunities to explore and work independently. The school is working to improve this area, but the outcomes are not consistent. As a result, the teaching and learning are satisfactory.
What the school should do to improve further
- Raise achievement in writing by increasing the range of extended writing opportunities and by celebrating pupils' writing more widely.
- Enhance the quality of learning in the Foundation Stage by increasing the children's independence and by giving them greater freedom to explore their own interests.
- Plan lessons to ensure that pupils are actively engaged in their learning.