Ditcheat Primary School
phone: 01749 860329
headteacher: Mrs Amanda Seager Ba
90 pupils capacity: 86% full
45 boys 57%
35 girls 45%
Last updated: June 20, 2014
Primary — Community School
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Community School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 362465, Northing: 136248
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.124, Longitude: -2.5377
- Accepting pupils
- 4—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- May 19, 2010
- Region › Const. › Ward
- South West › Somerton and Frome › The Pennards and Ditcheat
- Village - less sparse
- 2.3 miles Ansford School BA77JJ
- 2.3 miles Ansford Academy Trust BA77JJ (628 pupils)
- 2.4 miles Evercreech Church of England Primary School BA46EH (126 pupils)
- 2.8 miles Castle Cary Community Primary School BA77EH (209 pupils)
- 3.5 miles Lovington Church of England Primary School BA77PX (51 pupils)
- 3.5 miles Sexey's School BA100DF
- 3.5 miles Bruton School for Girls BA100NT (246 pupils)
- 3.5 miles Sexey's School BA100DF (479 pupils)
- 3.6 miles Bruton Primary School BA100DP (227 pupils)
- 3.6 miles The Meadow School for Steiner Education Ltd BA100AJ
- 3.7 miles King's Bruton BA100ED (332 pupils)
- 4.5 miles St Paul's Church of England VC Junior School BA45LA (281 pupils)
- 4.5 miles Whitstone BA45PF
- 4.5 miles Whitstone BA45PF (498 pupils)
- 4.6 miles St Aldhelm's Church of England Primary School BA44PL (210 pupils)
- 4.7 miles West Pennard Church of England Primary School BA68NT (211 pupils)
- 4.8 miles Shepton Mallet Community Infants' School & Nursery BA45HE (161 pupils)
- 4.9 miles Bowlish Infant School BA45JQ (107 pupils)
- 5.1 miles Baltonsborough Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School BA68PX (78 pupils)
- 5.4 miles North Cadbury Church of England Primary School BA227DE (119 pupils)
- 5.4 miles Croscombe Church of England Primary School BA53QL (73 pupils)
- 5.8 miles Upton Noble CofE VC Primary School BA46AU (182 pupils)
- 5.8 miles All Hallows School BA44SF (293 pupils)
- 5.9 miles Keinton Mandeville Primary School TA116ES (150 pupils)
DITCHEAT PRIMARY SCHOOL
Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet
LEA area: Somerset
Unique reference number: 123642
Acting Headteacher: Miss Heidi Sprake
Reporting inspector: Mr Harold Galley
Dates of inspection: April 15
Inspection number: 243683
Full inspection carried out under section 10 of the School Inspections Act 1996
This report may be reproduced in whole or in part for non-commercial educational purposes,
provided that all extracts quoted are reproduced verbatim without adaptation and on condition
that the source and date thereof are stated.
Further copies of this report are obtainable from the school. Under the School Inspections
Act 1996, the school must provide a copy of this report and/or its summary free of charge to
certain categories of people. A charge not exceeding the full cost of reproduction may be
made for any other copies supplied.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL
Type of school: Infant and junior
School category: Community
Age range of pupils: 4 to 11
Gender of pupils: Mixed
School address: Ditcheat,
Postcode: BA4 6RB
Telephone number: 01749 860329
Fax number: 01749 860687
Appropriate authority: The Governing Body
Name of chair of governors: Mrs Susan Ahlquist
Date of previous inspection: September 1997
INFORMATION ABOUT THE INSPECTION TEAM
Subject responsibilities Aspect responsibilities
Areas of learning for
children in the Foundation
Science; Art and design;
What sort of school is it?
The school's results and
achievements. How well
are pupils taught? How well
is the school led and
managed? What should
the school do to further
Pupils' attitudes, values
and personal development.
How well does the school
care for its pupils? How
well does the school work
in partnership with
English; Information and
Design and technology;
Music; Religious education;
Special educational needs;
How good are the
curricular and other
opportunities offered to
The inspection contractor was:
MSB Education Ltd
Any concerns or complaints about the inspection or the report should be raised with the
inspection contractor. Complaints that are not satisfactorily resolved by the contractor
should be raised with OFSTED by writing to:
The Complaints Manager
Inspection Quality Division
The Office for Standards in Education
London WC2B 6SE
PART A: SUMMARY OF THE REPORT 6
Information about the school
How good the school is
What the school does well
What could be improved
How the school has improved since its last inspection
Pupils’ attitudes and values
Teaching and learning
Other aspects of the school
How well the school is led and managed
Parents’ and carers’ views of the school
PART B: COMMENTARY
HOW HIGH ARE STANDARDS? 10
The school’s results and pupils’ achievements
Pupils’ attitudes, values and personal development
HOW WELL ARE PUPILS TAUGHT? 12
HOW GOOD ARE THE CURRICULAR AND OTHER
OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED TO PUPILS? 13
HOW WELL DOES THE SCHOOL CARE FOR ITS PUPILS? 16
HOW WELL DOES THE SCHOOL WORK IN
PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS 17
HOW WELL IS THE SCHOOL LED AND MANAGED? 18
WHAT SHOULD THE SCHOOL DO TO IMPROVE FURTHER? 20
PART C: SCHOOL DATA AND INDICATORS 21
PART D: THE STANDARDS AND QUALITY OF TEACHING IN
AREAS OF THE CURRICULUM, SUBJECTS AND COURSES 25
PART A: SUMMARY OF THE REPORT
INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL
Ditcheat Primary serves the village of Ditcheat and surrounding villages just south of Shepton
Mallet in Somerset. It is much smaller than average with 83 pupils on roll, 51 girls and 32
boys. In most year groups there are between 10 and 15 pupils, although the present Year 2
has just five pupils. The school buildings, which date back to Victorian times, are set in
attractive grounds which include an adventure playground, a children's garden and a wildlife
garden. Attainment on entry varies considerably from year to year, but is broadly average. No
pupils speak English as an additional language and all but two pupils are white. Seven pupils
are on the school's special educational needs register which is well below average. Six per
cent of pupils are entitled to free school meals, well below the national average. The high
level of teacher turnover has been an ongoing problem for the school. It was mentioned in the
last inspection report and, despite a period of stability between 1997 and 2000, there have
been more problems recently, not least in finding a replacement for the headteacher who left
last summer. The governors have recently made an appointment and a new headteacher will
take up her post in September. The senior teacher has been acting headteacher for the
whole of the present academic year.
HOW GOOD THE SCHOOL IS
This is an effective school with a number of very good features. In the present Year 6,
standards are above the national average in reading and mathematics, and pupils achieve
especially well in history. Standards in the present Year 6 group are much higher than those
achieved in the 2001 National Curriculum tests and assessments, largely due to the
unusually high proportion of pupils with special educational needs in last year's group.
Compared to their prior attainment, pupils achieve at least satisfactorily in every subject, with
good levels of achievement in reading, mathematics and history. Attitudes to learning are very
good and pupils are extremely keen to learn. Teaching is satisfactory overall, with good
teaching in Years 1 and 2. The school has been very well led during a transitional period by
the acting headteacher. The school provides good value for money.
What the school does well
- Standards in Year 6 are above average in reading and mathematics, and above national
expectations in history.
- The acting headteacher is a very effective leader and is well supported by an active and
well-informed governing body.
- Pupils are very keen to learn and behave well throughout the school.
- Relationships are excellent and underpin the calm, happy and purposeful atmosphere.
- Older pupils are given a wide range of opportunities to take responsibility and show
initiative and are well prepared for the next stage of education.
- The curriculum is enriched by a wide range of visits and visitors and by an excellent
range of out of school activities.
What could be improved
- Standards in writing.
- The use of information and communication technology (ICT) to support learning in
subjects across the curriculum.
The areas for improvement will form the basis of the governors’ action plan.
HOW THE SCHOOL HAS IMPROVED SINCE ITS LAST INSPECTION
The school has made good progress since its last inspection in September 1997. Standards
have risen in line with the national trend. Teaching has improved, with more good, very good
and excellent teaching, and unsatisfactory teaching has been reduced to zero. Curriculum
provision has been improved through the introduction of detailed schemes of work. The
school now has a very useful improvement plan and has much improved strategies for
evaluating its own performance. Although standards in ICT have improved, the use of ICT to
support learning in other subjects remains a weakness.
The table shows the standards achieved by pupils at the end of Year 6 based on average
in National Curriculum tests.
Performance in: all schools
1999 2000 2001 2001
English D A C E
well above average
Mathematics E B D E
Science C B C D
well below average E
The information shows the considerable variations in standards from year to year. This
reflects the changes in attainment on entry between different year groups as well as the
small number of pupils in each year group. In 2001, standards in Year 6 were average in
English and science, but below average in mathematics. Compared to other similar
, standards were well below average in English and mathematics and below
average in science. A significant factor in this year group was the very high proportion of
pupils, around one-third, on the school's special educational needs register, compared to this
school’s usual average of less than 10 per cent. Children in the Foundation Stage
satisfactorily overall, with good levels of achievement in personal, social and emotional
development and in reading. Most children achieve the Early Learning Goals proscribed for
the Foundation Stage before they enter Year 1. Standards at the end of Year 2 show similar
variations from year to year, but in 2001 were average in reading, writing and mathematics.
Standards of work seen in Year 6 were much higher and show good levels of achievement
compared to pupils’ performance in the Year 2 tests in 1998. Standards in other subjects are
in line with national expectations, apart from history where standards are good. Although
standards in physical education are at the expected level overall, standards in swimming and
country dancing are above those normally seen.
Average points scores refers to the average of pupils’ scores weighted by Ofsted for each level attained in each subject.
Schools with up to 8 per cent of pupils entitled to free school meals.
The Foundation Stage refers to children from entry up to and including age six when they complete the reception year.
PUPILS’ ATTITUDES AND VALUES
Attitudes to the school Very good; pupils are keen to learn throughout the school.
Behaviour, in and out of
Very good, both in class and around the school.
Relationships are excellent and older pupils have a good range of
opportunities to take responsibility and show initiative.
Attendance Good. Unauthorised absence is very low.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
Teaching of pupils in: Reception Years 1 – 2 Years 3 – 6
Quality of teaching Satisfactory Good Satisfactory
Inspectors make judgements about teaching in the range: excellent; very good; good; satisfactory;
unsatisfactory; poor; very poor. ‘Satisfactory’ means that the teaching is adequate and strengths outweigh
Teaching in the Foundation Stage is satisfactory overall, with strengths in personal, social
and emotional development and in terms of the good range of activities provided across the
areas of learning. In Years 1 and 2, over half the lessons were good or better, particularly on
the days when the class is taught by the acting headteacher. In Years 3 to 6, teaching is
satisfactory with good features. Half the lessons were satisfactory with the rest being good or
better. There was no unsatisfactory teaching throughout the school. Most literacy and
numeracy lessons are well taught. All lessons are well organised and proceed in a calm and
orderly fashion. Much of the teaching is lively and interesting, but opportunities are missed to
extend pupils' skills in writing and in ICT in many lessons. Teaching in history is good
throughout the school with one excellent lesson in Year 5/6. Teaching for pupils with special
educational needs is good throughout the school.
OTHER ASPECTS OF THE SCHOOL
The quality and range of
Good. The curriculum is enriched by the effective use of visits
and visitors that enliven lessons, and by the excellent range of
out of school activities. However, the use of ICT to support
learning in other subjects is weak.
Provision for pupils with
Good. Pupils achieve well because of the clear targets in their
individual education plans and the effective co-operation between
teachers and support assistants.
Provision for pupils’
spiritual, moral, social
Good. Spiritual, moral and cultural development are all good, and
social development is very good.
How well the school
cares for its pupils
The school provides a very caring environment. The promotion of
good behaviour is especially effective.
The school has developed very good working relationships with parents who much
appreciate the very caring atmosphere throughout the school. Provision for homework is
satisfactory and parents make a positive contribution to their children's learning at home.
HOW WELL THE SCHOOL IS LED AND MANAGED
management by the
headteacher and other
The acting headteacher has provided very good leadership during
this transitional year. Subject leaders are hard working and
How well the governors
fulfil their responsibilities
Governors have a clear understanding of the strengths and
weaknesses of the school and bring a good range of skills to their
The school’s evaluation
of its performance
Good. This has improved recently due to the detailed analyses of
performance by the acting headteacher.
The strategic use of
Good. The school has good procedures for deploying its
resources to the maximum effect for its pupils.
There is a good number of teaching staff affording small class sizes. Accommodation is
satisfactory. Learning resources are satisfactory overall. Resources in many subjects are
good, but there is a shortage of appropriate software to support work in ICT. The school
applies the principles of best value well in all its major spending decisions and gives good
value for money.
PARENTS’ AND CARERS’ VIEWS OF THE SCHOOL
What pleases parents most What parents would like to see improved
- Children like coming to school and are
keen to learn.
- Teaching is good and all staff are
- The acting headteacher has done a very
good job in difficult circumstances.
- The way in which the school helps
children to become mature and
- The amount of homework set.
- Information about children's progress.
- The disruption caused by high teacher
Inspectors agree entirely with the positive views expressed by parents. The amount of
homework is consistent with that normally seen. Information to parents about their child's
progress is good, although more information could be provided about the curriculum for
children in Years 1 to 6. Although there has been much disruption in terms of teacher
turnover, there is no specific reason for this and the school is presently fully staffed.
PART B: COMMENTARY
HOW HIGH ARE STANDARDS?
The school’s results and pupils’ achievements
1. Attainment on entry to the school is broadly average. School records show a
considerable variation in attainment on entry from year to year. The main reason for this is
the very small number of pupils in each year group entering the school. These variations,
along with the small year groups, have led to considerable fluctuations in the results achieved
by pupils in the National Curriculum tests and assessments at the age of seven and 11. With
only between ten and fifteen pupils in each year group, some caution is needed in comparing
the school's results to national percentages.
2. Children achieve satisfactorily overall in the reception class and are on course to meet
the Early Learning Goals in all the areas of learning recommended for the Foundation Stage.
There is an effective focus on creating a happy, relaxed environment in the reception class
and the excellent relationships between staff and children lead to good levels of achievement
in children's personal, social and emotional development. Children make a good start to their
reading and speaking and listening skills and achieve well in these aspects of learning.
Children’s mathematical development is satisfactory.
3. Results of the 2001 National Curriculum test and assessments show that, by the age
of seven, standards were average in reading, writing, mathematics and science. Compared
to other similar schools, standards were just below average in reading, writing and
mathematics. The proportion of pupils reaching the higher Level 3 was average in all areas,
apart from writing, where the proportion was above the national average. Since there are only
five pupils in the present Year 2, comparisons with national averages are rather meaningless,
although it is clear these pupils are achieving at least satisfactorily across the curriculum.
4. The 2001 test results show that, by the age of 11, standards were average in English
and science and below average in mathematics. Compared to other similar schools,
standards were below average in science and well below average in English and
mathematics. A potent factor in this year group's results was the unusually high proportion of
pupils on the school's special educational needs register, with around one-third of pupils on
the register compared to this school's usual average of around 10 per cent. In all three
subjects, standards have risen in line with the national trend since the last inspection in 1997.
Standards observed during the inspection in Year 6 were average in English and science and
above average in mathematics. Comparisons with these pupils' attainments in their national
test scores at the end of Year 2 in 1998 show that, in all three subjects pupils have achieved
well since then. Pupils in Year 6 have achieved especially well in reading and standards are
above average. Standards in English overall are average, however, because pupils do not
achieve well enough in writing. In mathematics, pupils respond positively to the good teaching
and achieve well in all aspects of this subject. In other subjects, pupils achieve satisfactorily,
apart from history where teaching is good and standards are above national expectations. In
religious education pupils meet the expectations of the locally agreed syllabus by the ages of
seven and 11.
5. Pupils with special educational needs achieve well and make good progress towards
the targets in their individual education plans and are included in all activities. Pupils' progress
is monitored closely and pupils' targets updated on a regular basis.
6. The National Strategies for Literacy and Numeracy have been successfully introduced
and make a positive contribution to pupils' levels of achievement. Progress in reading is
better than in writing because teachers have more confidence and expertise in this area of
learning. There is a satisfactory range of opportunities for pupils to develop their literacy and
numeracy skills in other subjects. Although standards in ICT itself are satisfactory, there are
few opportunities for pupils to use information and communication technology to support
learning in subjects across the curriculum.
7. The school's targets for English and mathematics for its end of Year 6 results are
sufficiently challenging and the school is on course to reach them. There have been recent
improvements in the way in which test results are monitored as well as in the way such data
is used to track the progress of individual pupils as they move through the school.
Pupils’ attitudes, values and personal development
8. Pupils’ attitudes to school are very good. Pupils are very positive about school and
respond well to its friendly supportive atmosphere. Virtually all children say that they enjoy
school; one recently arrived pupil observed that, “I really like this school. I’m so glad I came
here.” Children in the Foundation Stage, many of whom are still under the age of five, are
confident about leaving parents in the morning and settle confidently to well-established
routines in a calm and purposeful environment. Attitudes to lessons are very positive
throughout the school, which represents a significant improvement over the satisfactory
attitudes noted in the previous inspection report. Pupils of all ages focus well upon the task in
hand, whether it is a Year 1/2 class collecting green leaves and grasses in a nearby lane as a
preliminary to considering Van Gogh’s ’Fields under Thunderclouds’ in an art lesson, or Year
5/6 considering written methods of division in mathematics. Pupils respond to lively,
challenging material presented in an interesting way by teachers with whom they have
excellent rapport. Pupils are attentive, involved, keen to try and delighted when they succeed.
Pupils are proud of their school and take full advantage of the opportunities it offers, such as
after school activities, sport, drama and visits.
9. Behaviour is very good, an improvement over the good standards seen at the time of
the last inspection. Pupils are polite and responsive in class and orderly as they move about
the school. Play is co-operative and good natured; constructive play is encouraged by the
stimulating environment, with its adventure play equipment and the wide range of toys,
games, balls and skipping ropes provided by the school to channel pupils’ energies. All ages
and both sexes mix well at play. There is a complete absence of any sort of harassment or
aggression towards any individuals or groups of pupils – the school is an inclusive
community. Pupils are polite and helpful, and happy to show visitors around their school. The
grounds are largely free of litter and children are quick to pick up any they observe. School
property and resources are treated with respect. There have been no exclusions over the
preceding twelve months.
10. The attitudes of pupils with special educational needs are good in most lessons and
such pupils work hard to achieve the targets set for them.
11. Pupils’ personal development is very good. Pupils are involved in the school’s daily
routines. All pupils have classroom tasks, such as collecting books, looking after pencils or
being that day’s ‘special helper’. Older pupils in Years 5 and 6 play a significant part in the
running of the school. The school is divided into teams (or houses) and each is captained by
a Year 6 pupil. Older pupils, completely unselfconsciously and without being asked, look after
young children in the playground whilst others volunteer to help tidy the hall after lunch. Pupils
in the Year 5/6 class show a commendable maturity, esprit de corps and loyalty towards the
school and the village community. Pupils demonstrate a sense of community by taking part in
village activities, helping the parent-teacher association with their functions and organising
charity fund-raising events. Possibly because the school is a very secure, supportive
community, there is less evidence of pupils taking responsibility for their own learning.
Relationships at all levels are excellent. Staff treat pupils with respect and pupils respond
appropriately. Relationships between pupils are mature and sensitive. The school has
experienced more than one personal tragedy in the recent past. The sensitivity and
understanding with which the entire school community, including young children, has
reacted, is exemplary.
12. Attendance is good. Unauthorised absence is below the national average. Pupils arrive
punctually and the pace of the school day is brisk – there is little if any slippage of time
between lessons, breaks and lunch. Registration is carried out promptly and efficiently.
HOW WELL ARE PUPILS OR STUDENTS TAUGHT?
13. Teaching in the Foundation Stage (reception class) is satisfactory with good features.
The strengths are in the teaching of personal, social and emotional development. The
teacher has worked hard and extremely effectively to provide a warm, happy and calm
learning environment, where children feel confident and relaxed. Children respond positively
and the quality of learning is good in this aspect of the provision. Children make good
progress in their reading development as a result of good teaching in this area. Teacher's
planning is good in terms of providing a wide range of well organised activities, but does not
always make enough provision for children of differing ability.
14. Teaching in the Year 1/2 class is good, with some very good features. This class is
shared by the acting headteacher and the ‘headteacher's relief’. The acting headteacher sets
a particularly good example with some lively and very effective teaching. Eighty per cent of
lessons in this class were good or better, and there was no unsatisfactory teaching. Both
teachers have a secure understanding of how young pupils learn and make extremely
effective use of the local environment to bring learning to life in subjects such as art and
design and science. A strength of teaching is the practical approach to learning that makes
good use of the resources available. In a science lesson, for example, good use was made
of the school grounds to develop pupils' knowledge and understanding of animals and their
different habitats. In a mathematics lesson, pupils’ understanding of capacity was enhanced
by the use of a range of different sized containers that pupils had to fill with sand. By the end
of this practical session, pupils were able to conclude that capacity was ‘how much room
there is inside’.
15. Teaching in Years 3 to 6 is satisfactory overall, with some good features. Just over half
the lessons were satisfactory, with a quarter being good and a quarter very good or excellent.
All lessons are well organised and pupils are managed in a firm but friendly manner. This
ensures that pupils concentrate and learn effectively throughout lessons. The calm
purposeful atmosphere is a feature of all lessons. The quality of learning is enhanced by the
sharing of objectives at the start of the lessons and by a clear evaluation of these at the end
of each lesson. Teachers have worked effectively to introduce both National Literacy and
Numeracy strategies and the successful use of these underpins the successful teaching in
these areas. In other subjects, good use is made of visits and visitors to bring the curriculum
alive and this has a significant impact on the quality of learning. The pace of lessons is
satisfactory, although some satisfactory lessons lack urgency. Where teachers do maintain
a lively pace, teaching is often good or very good. One excellent lesson was observed in a
Year 5/6 history lesson. In this lesson, the teacher took the class, without any introductory
preamble, in the persona of an actual teacher at Ditcheat in the 1870s, using the original log
book of that era that enabled pupils to develop a close understanding of life for children in a
16. Alongside these many strengths there are some weaknesses that meant that
otherwise strong lessons were judged to be satisfactory rather than good. In literacy
sessions, teachers have a very good understanding of how to develop pupils' reading skills
but are much less sure when teaching writing. Opportunities for pupils to write at length in
subjects across the curriculum are too infrequent, and more able pupils are not always
challenged enough in this area of learning. In both their oral and written feedback, teachers
use praise and encouragement well to motivate pupils, but rarely give pupils a clear idea of
their own strengths and weaknesses and what they need to focus on in order to improve
further. Although the teaching of ICT itself is satisfactory, teachers' knowledge of how to use
ICT to enhance pupils' learning in subjects across the curriculum is weak.
17. The assessment of pupils' progress is good. Teachers have developed a good range of
strategies for monitoring pupils' progress and, in most lessons, use these records well to
plan work that is well suited to pupils' differing needs. An exception to this is in writing, where
pupils are not given sufficiently detailed feedback and, as a consequence, have only a
sketchy idea of their own strengths and weaknesses.
18. Throughout the school, homework is used appropriately to support pupils' learning.
Parents confirm that older pupils are well prepared for the next stage of education.
19. The teaching of pupils with special educational needs is good. Pupils achieve well in
relation to their prior attainment and make good progress towards the targets in their
individual education plans. Teachers work closely with the special needs co-ordinator and
learning support assistants to promote the learning of these pupils. Teachers are especially
effective in ensuring the inclusion of all pupils in all the school's work.
20. The quality of learning reflects the satisfactory and good teaching across the school
and is considerably enhanced by pupils' very positive attitudes to learning. Overall the quality
of teaching is judged satisfactory.
21. Teaching has improved significantly since the last inspection, with more good and very
good or better teaching, and unsatisfactory teaching has been reduced to zero.
HOW GOOD ARE THE CURRICULAR AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED TO
PUPILS OR STUDENTS?
22. The quality of the school's curriculum is good and meets statutory requirements. It is
sufficiently broad and balanced with all subjects represented including personal, health and
social provision on a regular basis. The main focus in literacy this year has been on
developing writing. The National Literacy Strategy has been satisfactorily implemented and
there are many activities targeted to pupils’ particular needs in writing, although the school
recognises this remains an area for further improvement. The National Numeracy Strategy
has been implemented well and there are improvements in the development of mental and
oral arithmetic. In all subjects detailed and effective schemes of work are in use. Some
subjects are trialling new updated schemes of work. For instance, the school is piloting a
new whole school programme for personal, social, health and citizenship education. This is
an improvement since the last inspection when many whole school plans were not in place.
Provision for religious education meets the requirements of the locally agreed syllabus.
23. Teachers’ weekly planning has been improved since the last inspection and now
contains specific learning objectives. However, in few subjects is there any mention of how
more able pupils are being set specific challenges in terms of their writing skills. The national
guidance for the Foundation Stage has been suitably implemented. There are policies for all
subjects and aspects of school life. Some policies require review, as they are out of date.
These include policies for geography, drugs, early years and special educational needs.
There are draft policies for anti-racism and bullying as well as for equal opportunities. The
school's planning ensures that there are many links between subjects; science and design
and technology projects, for example, are especially well linked.
24. The provision for pupils with special educational needs is effective and is linked to their
individual education plans. The requirements of the DfES Code of Practice are fully met.
Arrangements for pupils’ inclusion in all aspects of the curriculum are appropriate and pupils
with special educational needs have access to all subjects. Teaching assistants give good
quality support in literacy and numeracy lessons, but some sit just observing during the
lesson introduction. Work is set at a level closely matched to pupils' prior attainment and to
any specific targets. The class teachers and the special needs co-ordinator carefully set and
monitor pupils’ achievements.
25. Extracurricular provision is excellent. During the last year pupils have enjoyed sporting
activities such as, netball, country dancing, tennis, rugby, hockey, athletics, rounders, mini
sports and football. Other school clubs include pupils in drama, ICT, French, choir and
percussion. There were many visitors who enriched the curriculum, from artists, vicars, a
visitor from Zambia to gardeners. Pupils use the local environment very well. School visits
linked to curriculum studies took pupils to a local cheese factory, a stable, (and two years
ago) a Tutankhamun exhibition, Bristol Zoo and Wells Cathedral Music School. Whole school
enrichment weeks have focused on books, mathematics, science and art, as well as weeks
about the local community and the wider world. School productions involve pupils in Harvest
Festivals, Christmas plays and Leavers’ Services. Pupils especially enjoyed a recent ‘circus
workshop’ that helped develop a range of physical skills.
26. Pupils’ personal, social and health education is well catered for. A scheme of work for
this area has been developed. The school places a high priority on pupils’ welfare. There are
social development sessions and through them pupils' spiritual awareness is thoughtfully
enhanced. This was seen when pupils were asked to tell the group what they were thankful
for in their lives. Citizenship is well developed: for example when pupils’ Harvest apple cakes
were shared with many Ditcheat villagers. Funds raised have been given to national charities.
The school assists effectively with the teaching of sex education and pupils learn about the
use and misuse of drugs.
27. Links with the local community are very good and they enrich the curriculum. A group of
pupils sang and performed to the community at the vicar’s recent retirement service. Visits
were made to a neighbouring river and plants were studied. During community week there
was a host of interesting visitors who worked with pupils. These included police, nurses,
actors, a bugle player from the Royal British Legion, a Beaver leader and many other local
people. Pupils have interviewed elderly people about life in the past. However, e-mailing has
not been used to contact other communities or countries. Close ties have been made with
the local playgroups, and the local secondary schools. Pupils are suitably prepared for the
next phase of education.
28. The provision for pupils’ personal development is good. The various strands of personal
development – spiritual, moral and social – were drawn together very effectively by the
sensitive way in which the school handled recent personal tragedies.
29. Provision for pupils' spiritual development is good. Through assemblies, acts of
collective worship and personal, social and health education lessons, pupils are encouraged
to reflect upon matters such as the nature of friendship. In religious education, music and
science lessons, pupils are encouraged to see the wonder in what they are studying. For
example, after a Year 1/2 science lesson in which pupils were studying living things found in
the school garden, they were encouraged to think about the wonder of nature. One pupil, in
the Year 5/6 class, wrote a prayer asking God to forgive terrorists for recent atrocities.
30. The school provides well for pupils’ moral development. The promotion of positive
behaviour permeates all aspects of school life. Acts of kindness and helpfulness are
recorded in the school ‘Golden Book’ and shared with the whole school at a Friday
celebration assembly. Pupils themselves can nominate others for ‘Golden Book’ entries, thus
helping them to understand the principles involved. Even the youngest children in the
reception class are encouraged to think about moral issues; for example, in a Year 1/2
assembly, pupils were considering the impact of ‘people going away’. The subsequent
discussion, sensitively managed by the teacher, developed into consideration of parents
31. Pupils are very well developed socially; provision is very good. The school is a cohesive
place and adult co-operation in day-to-day work provides a very good role model for children.
Pupils are given every opportunity to take responsibility for organising aspects of daily school
life. The school is divided into six teams, each led by a Year 6 pupil. Team points are
awarded for effort and behaviour and the offer of a team point, for example for being the first
table to be ready to go to lunch, promotes co-operative working very effectively. Pupils are
encouraged to contribute to their community, for example by taking part in village activities.
The school’s activities are featured in the parish magazine, thus underlining the fact that the
school is part of the wider community. This concept is further promoted by the school’s
community week, in which pupils find out what happens in their village, through meeting a
wide range of key community figures, from the community beat officer to prominent local
32. Pupils’ cultural development is good and much improved since the last inspection.
Aspects of their own, and other, cultures are addressed in the curriculum. In physical
education, for example, pupils learn traditional British country dances. There is a lively after-
school country dance club, which takes part in the annual country dance festival at Wells.
Pupils attend classical music concerts in Bristol and local artists visit the school to work with
pupils. The village church is used as an historical and cultural artefact as well as a place of
spirituality. Pupils are well informed about other cultures. In ‘World week’, for example, they
looked at life in Kenya, created a Canadian totem pole, and made and ate Chinese food. The
school organised a circus skills day so as to raise money for Brazilian children, and there is a
church link with a Zambian priest. In religious education lessons, pupils consider other faiths,
such as Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. Stories from these cultures are used in assemblies.
For instance, the reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes listened to the story of Rama and Sita
in their assembly. There is less evidence, however, that pupils are aware of the multicultural
nature of their own country.
33. Overall, pupils' personal development has been improved significantly since the last
HOW WELL DOES THE SCHOOL CARE FOR ITS PUPILS?
34. The quality of care offered to its pupils is one of the school’s strengths, and one
frequently mentioned by parents. The standards are good. The headteacher is the person
designated for child protection purposes and has been appropriately trained. The school
sticks closely to the local education authority’s guidelines for child protection matters. Where
necessary, the school’s education social worker acts as a link between school and other
agencies. Other staff, including support staff, are aware of the action to be taken in cases of
concern. There are security procedures for Internet access and parent helpers are police
cleared. Health and safety is overseen effectively by the governing body. There is a policy and
necessary procedures are in place. The premises are inspected before each governors’
meeting. There are regular safety inspections of electrical items, physical education and play
apparatus, and fire equipment. Regular fire drills are held and the bell tested. There are
satisfactory arrangements for dealing with minor accidents and the school is prepared to
administer necessary prescribed medicines. The governing body is in the process of
reviewing procedures for making risk assessments. In addition to discharging their statutory
responsibilities, the headteacher, governors and staff devote considerable energy to
supporting pupils and promoting their welfare, often in a low-key, unobtrusive fashion. Family
tragedy and emotional turmoil are handled with kindness and understanding; as a number of
parents have observed, the school is a very caring community.
35. Procedures for monitoring attendance are good. Registers are checked weekly, and
the data transferred to the office computer, but the size of the school ensures that any
irregularity in attendance is noted well before then. The great majority of parents are co-
operative and inform the school when a child will not be attending. However, in the event of a
pupil being unexpectedly absent, the school’s administration officer will phone home. In the
(unusual) event of unsatisfactory attendance, the school can call upon the services of an
education social worker. The school does its best, through messages in newsletters, to deter
families from taking holidays in term time. The school, however, recognises that as a number
of its pupils come from agricultural families, the needs of the farm sometimes dictate when
holidays can be taken.
36. There are very good procedures for monitoring and promoting good behaviour. The
high standards of behaviour seen during the inspection and commented upon by parents are
achieved through expectation, example and ethos. Children are introduced to the school’s
basic routines in the reception class and from there onwards, the emphasis is upon
encouraging positive attitudes and behaviour. The emphasis is upon team effort and, as was
seen on more than one occasion, peer pressure is very effective in achieving co-operation.
Particularly good effort, attitude or behaviour is recorded in the school’s ‘Golden Book’ and
recognised at a weekly celebration assembly. Lunchtime supervisors are involved in the
reward system. The high standards of behaviour in the playground are, in part at least, a
consequence of the stimulating environment and the provision of toys, games and activities.
Bullying is rare but when it occurs, it is dealt with swiftly; because of the small size of the
school, staff get to hear of such instances very quickly. Parents are involved at an early
stage. Every class has a weekly timetabled personal social and health education (PSHE)
lesson; these lessons are used, where necessary, to address matters such as relationships
and bullying. The school is free of any sort of harassment or racial intolerance.
37. Procedures for monitoring and supporting pupils’ personal development are very good,
though largely informal. The school provides many opportunities for personal development,
through taking on responsibilities in school, fund raising for charity, taking part in community
events, and going on a biennial residential visit. In a small school, staff know which pupils
take up opportunities. Staff know pupils well; even when the class teacher is new the longer-
serving support staff provide the necessary continuity. This knowledge, together with good
assessment procedures and the excellent relationships between staff and pupils ensure that
no child’s personal development is overlooked.
38. The procedures to assess pupils’ attainment are good overall. In mathematics, English,
science and all other subjects regular assessments are carried out. The assessment of
information and communication technology is established, but in its early stages.
Assessment of art and design, physical education, history, geography, music, design and
technology and religious education is suitably developed. Many of these assessment
activities are newly introduced and have yet to raise standards. The school has started
tracking individual pupils’ progress, although teachers’ use of this data is too recent to yet
impact on standards. In English pupils could be achieving higher standards in writing. The
performance of boys and girls has been analysed for literacy, numeracy and science in
national tests for 11 year olds in order to plan for the future.
39. The school's use of assessment is good. Assessment is particularly well used to
identify and set individual education plans for pupils with special educational needs. However
pupils’ individual targets are not often referred to in lessons. Individual education plans have
specific and measurable targets. Assessment is used well when teachers record their
evaluations of learning in a lesson. Pupils have personal literacy targets in their literacy
books, although these are sometimes too vague, but do help pupils become familiar with
National Curriculum levels of attainment. When they are available local authority specialists
are used to assess pupils. A lack of speech therapists has meant that pupils who would
benefit from their expertise will not receive this early in their school career.
40. Overall, the school has made good improvements in care and assessment procedures
since the last inspection.
HOW WELL DOES THE SCHOOL WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS?
41. The school has built good links with parents. The school is an integral part of the
community and is involved in most village activities. Parents, consequently, feel that it is their
school even before their children start to attend. There are good induction arrangements and
soon after the child has started school, parents are given a report of the child’s assessment
on entry to school (the baseline assessment). The school is a welcoming, friendly place and
parents are invited to school events such as Christmas drama productions, Harvest Festival,
sports events and open days. Some parents help in lessons, for example by listening to
children read. Others provide additional supervision for school visits or run after-school clubs
and activities. Parent governors, of which the school has its full quota, play a significant part
in the effective management of the school. The parent-teacher association (the Friends of
Ditcheat school) is well supported in the community and organises activities which are both
effective fund-raisers and good social links between parents, school and community. The
association’s activities are of direct benefit to pupils in two ways – the funds raised are used
to enhance learning resources or the school environment (for example the adventure play
area), and children’s involvement in some activities (the fashion show for instance) helps
develop their sense of citizenship. Overall, parental involvement in the school is good.
42. The quality of information for parents is very good. All parents receive a weekly
newsletter, written in accessible, parent-friendly language. These newsletters give advance
notice of forthcoming events and report the children’s activities, including the names of those
children entered in the school’s celebratory ‘Golden Book’. Additionally, newsletters keep
parents informed about matters affecting school management, for example the training
courses attended by staff, and information about staff absences. These newsletters give
parents a very clear window into the school’s day-to-day life. Each class sends parents a
termly letter, describing the work pupils will be doing. The reception class goes a step further
and provides fortnightly newsletters, describing in detail the work the children will do and
suggesting ways in which parents can help. These letters form an excellent link between the
reception class and its parents. Parents have formal consultation meetings with their
children’s teachers in the summer and autumn terms and parents may, if they wish, meet
staff to discuss their child’s annual report. Those reports are satisfactory and meet statutory
requirements. Progress in each subject of the National Curriculum is described and, in most
cases, targets are included. The school is presently revising the report format, with a view to
making the targets more prominent, and providing for the child’s view of the year. All parents
spoken to both before and during the inspection felt that the school was open and accessible;
staff were happy to discuss matters of concern to parents. Teachers, including the acting
headteacher, were known to be at the school gate at the end of the day. In the pre-inspection
questionnaire, 22 per cent of respondents were unable to agree that they were kept well
informed about their children’s progress. The inspection team is at a loss to understand that
response; it is difficult to see what more this most open and accessible school could do.
43. The school has effective links with parents of special educational needs pupils.
Parents are given a copy of pupils’ individual targets and most return a signed form to say
they have seen them. Parents know that they can always come in and see staff if they have
concerns. The school takes a considerable amount of trouble to talk to parents after school
informally at the gate, so that suggestions can be made to help pupils achieve more
44. Parental views of the school, overall, are very supportive. Parents particularly
appreciate the supportive atmosphere, the caring ethos and the impact of the school’s values
on their children. Parents like the acting headteacher’s outgoing, inclusive approach; parents
feel a part of the school community. The pre-inspection questionnaire revealed strong
support for the school. Almost 69 per cent of parents replied and the majority of those
responses were couched in strongly supportive terms. However, in addition to the 22 per
cent who were unhappy with the information provided, 22 per cent were not satisfied with the
amount of homework given. The inspection conclusions do not support that concern – the
use of homework across the school is satisfactory.
45. Overall, the school has made good progress since the last inspection, successfully
building on the good provision described then.
HOW WELL IS THE SCHOOL LED AND MANAGED?
46. The acting headteacher has led the school very well during this transitional year,
between the departure of the last headteacher in the summer of 2001 and the appointment of
a new headteacher to take effect from September 2002.
47. The acting headteacher has worked in close co-operation with the governing body and
together they have developed a mutual understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of
the school and a clear vision of how to improve an already effective school. This very
effective leadership is based on a determination to improve pupils' standards of attainment
whilst, at the same time, maintaining the high level of care. The very good school
improvement plan represents a substantial improvement since the last inspection and
contains appropriate priorities to raise pupils' attainment. The work of the school largely
reflects its aims and objectives. In particular, the school is very good at promoting pupils' self
esteem and developing a sense of responsibility amongst older pupils.
48. The governing body is effective and brings a wide range of skills and experience to
benefit the management of the school. It has good procedures for gathering information about
the life of the school and the impact of its decisions. Members of the governing body regularly
visit the school and talk to staff, parents and pupils as well as receiving formal and informal
reports from the headteacher. The outcome is that they have a good knowledge of the
school's strengths and weaknesses. They play a strategic role in shaping the future of the
49. Provision for pupils with special educational needs is managed well. The co-ordinator
has a clear vision for the future. She has developed new individual education plans, which
have space for parents to record their own comments. The new code of practice has been
well implemented. The co-ordinator has observed how class teachers are meeting the needs
of these pupils in lessons. One teaching assistant has been well trained to support pupils
with special educational needs. The progress made by these pupils has been carefully
monitored and this demonstrates that pupils achieve well.
50. Financial planning is good and the school makes good use of the resources available
to benefit its pupils. The budget is closely linked to the priorities outlined in the school's
detailed improvement plan. The acting headteacher analyses statistical data to monitor
pupils' attainment against national and similar school averages and these findings inform the
school's priorities. Specific grants, such as those for the support of pupils with special
educational needs, are well used for their designated purposes. Recent funding decisions
have resulted in improvements in the school grounds, which are used effectively to support
pupils' learning in subjects across the curriculum. Provision for ICT has been another focus
over the last year and has resulted in improvements in this subject, although the school
recognises that much more needs to done to make full use of the resources that are now
available. Overall, the school makes good use of the resources available to it and provides
good value for money. The school presently has a high carry forward figure, although this has
been prudently decided upon by the governing body as part of their determination to maintain
the present level of the teaching staff during a period of falling rolls.
51. The monitoring, evaluation and development of teaching and the curriculum is
satisfactory. The acting headteacher has monitored teaching and offered useful guidance
and support to colleagues. The role of subject co-ordinators is now well developed.
Satisfactory strategies are in place for appraisal and performance management and this has
already had a positive impact on teachers' induction and training needs.
52. The school's use of new technology is satisfactory. Appropriate software is used to
monitor the budget and keep track of pupils' progress in various tests and assessments. E-
mail is available, although not in regular use for pupils. The school has recently developed its
own website and this is expected to go online immediately after the inspection.
53. The match of staff to the demands of the curriculum is satisfactory. All teachers are
well qualified to meet the needs of the Foundation Stage, the National Curriculum and the
needs of the locally agreed syllabus of religious education. Staff development is good and the
school has a healthy, reflective attitude with a clear determination to improve. The only
weakness in terms of teachers' subject knowledge is the area concerning the use of ICT to
support learning in subjects across the curriculum.
54. Satisfactory attention is paid to the principles of best value in the way national test
results are compared to other schools. Considerable care is taken to consult parents and
care is taken to ensure that purchases are made competitively.
55. Accommodation is satisfactory. Classrooms are of an adequate size having regard to
the numbers and ages of pupils. The hall is of sufficient size for whole school assemblies
and the teaching of physical education. There is, however, no separate library and the
headteacher has to share an office with the administration officer. Outside, there is a tarmac
play area, of sufficient size for the number of pupils and a grassed adventure play area, with
play equipment provided by the Friends’ association – this is in frequent use and regarded by
pupils as a distinct bonus. There is a wildlife garden and a peaceful orchard area with apple
trees and a mass of primroses. The front garden, with fishpond, is beautifully tended. The
school grounds provide an environment which is both restful and stimulating and is frequently
used as a stimulating learning resource. The school has the use of a field a short walk away.
The premises are maintained to a high standard and enhanced by a good range of high
quality displays of pupils' work throughout the school.
56. Learning resources are satisfactory. They are good in history, geography, physical
education and English, and satisfactory in all other subjects. In information and
communication technology, the hardware resources in the recently created ICT suite are
good but there are deficiencies in software.
WHAT SHOULD THE SCHOOL DO TO IMPROVE FURTHER?
57. In order to further improve this already effective school, the headteacher, governors and
- Improve standards in writing by:
o Developing specific challenges for more able pupils;
o Promoting pupils' awareness of National Curriculum levels;
o Enhancing teachers' expertise;
o Ensuring teachers' marking and oral feedback gives pupils specific guidance
on how to improve;
o Improving the range of opportunities for pupils to develop writing skills in
subjects across the curriculum.
Paragraphs: 4, 6, 16, 17, 23, 38, 67, 82, 87, 89, 90, 109.
- Develop the use of ICT in subjects across the curriculum by:
o Improving the range of software available to teachers;
o Enhancing teachers' expertise in using such software;
o Increasing opportunities for pupils to undertake individual research activities;
o Developing the use of the Internet and e-mail;
o Making better use of the ICT suite.
Paragraphs: 6, 16, 50, 52, 56, 73, 85, 90, 100, 108, 114, 120, 125, 134, 135, 136, 142.
PART C: SCHOOL DATA AND INDICATORS
Summary of the sources of evidence for the inspection
Number of lessons observed 29
Number of discussions with staff, governors, other adults and pupils 28
Summary of teaching observed during the inspection
Excellent Very good Good Satisfactory Unsatisfactor
Poor Very Poor
1 5 10 13 0 0 0
3 17 35 45 0 0 0
The table gives the number and percentage of lessons observed in each of the seven categories used to make
judgements about teaching. Care should be taken when interpreting these percentages as each lesson represents
more than three percentage points.
Information about the school’s pupils
Pupils on the school’s roll YR – Y6
Number of pupils on the school’s roll (FTE for part-time pupils) 83
Number of full-time pupils known to be eligible for free school meals 2
FTE means full-time equivalent.
Special educational needs YR – Y6
Number of pupils with statements of special educational needs 0
Number of pupils on the school’s special educational needs register 7
English as an additional language No of
Number of pupils with English as an additional language 0
Pupil mobility in the last school year No of
Pupils who joined the school other than at the usual time of first admission 2
Pupils who left the school other than at the usual time of leaving 2
Authorised absence Unauthorised absence
School data 5.8 School data 0.1
National comparative data 5.6 National comparative data 0.5
Both tables give the percentage of half days (sessions) missed through absence for the latest complete reporting
Attainment at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2)
Number of registered pupils in final year of Key Stage 1 for the latest
National Curriculum Test/Task Results Reading Writing Mathematics
Numbers of pupils at NC
level 2 and above
Total 17 16 18
Percentage of pupils
School 89 (91) 84 (91) 95 (91)
at NC level 2 or above
National 84 (83) 86 (84) 91 (90)
Teachers’ Assessments English Mathematics Science
Numbers of pupils at NC
level 2 and above
Total 17 18 17
Percentage of pupils
School 89 (82) 95 (91) 89 (91)
at NC level 2 or above
National 85 (84) 89 (88) 89 (88)
Percentages in brackets refer to the year before the latest reporting year.
Because there were less than 10 girls in both the Year 2 and Year 6 groups in 2001, separate data for boys and
girls is not included.
Attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6)
Number of registered pupils in final year of Key Stage 2 for the latest
National Curriculum Test/Task Results English Mathematics Science
Numbers of pupils at NC
level 4 and above
Total 18 14 21
Percentage of pupils
School 82 (90) 64 (90) 95 (100)
at NC level 4 or above
National 75 (75) 71 (72) 87 (85)
Teachers’ Assessments English Mathematics Science
Numbers of pupils at NC
level 4 and above
Total 13 17 21
Percentage of pupils
School 59 (80) 77 (100) 95 (100)
at NC level 4 or above
National 72 (70) 74 (72) 82 (79)
Percentages in brackets refer to the year before the latest reporting year.
Ethnic background of pupils
Exclusions in the last school year
Black – Caribbean heritage
Black – Caribbean
Black – African heritage 0 Black – African heritage 0 0
Black – other 0 Black – other 0 0
Indian 0 Indian 0 0
Pakistani 0 Pakistani 0 0
Bangladeshi 0 Bangladeshi 0 0
Chinese 0 Chinese 0 0
White 81 White 1 0
Any other minority ethnic group
Other minority ethnic
This table refers to pupils of compulsory school
This table gives the number of exclusions of pupils of
compulsory school age, which may be different from
the number of pupils excluded.
Teachers and classes Financial information
Qualified teachers and classes: YR– Y6
Total number of qualified teachers
Financial year 2000 -
Number of pupils per qualified
Average class size 20.8 £
Education support staff: YR – Y6 Total income 241,984
Total number of education support
Total aggregate hours worked per
Expenditure per pupil
FTE means full-time equivalent. Balance brought forward from previous
Balance carried forward to next year 22,660
Recruitment of teachers
Number of teachers who left the school during the last two years 5.5
Number of teachers appointed to the school during the last two years 5.1
Total number of vacant teaching posts (FTE)
Number of vacancies filled by teachers on temporary contract of a term or more (FTE)
Number of unfilled vacancies or vacancies filled by teachers on temporary contract of less than one
FTE means full-time equivalent.
Results of the survey of parents and carers
Questionnaire return rate
Number of questionnaires sent out 86
Number of questionnaires returned 59
Percentage of responses in each category
My child likes school. 64 29 7 0 0
My child is making good progress in school. 46 41 5 0 5
Behaviour in the school is good. 51 46 0 0 3
My child gets the right amount of work to do at
36 41 17 5 2
The teaching is good. 66 28 3 0 3
I am kept well informed about how my child is
47 31 15 7 0
I would feel comfortable about approaching the
school with questions or a problem.
69 25 5 0 0
The school expects my child to work hard and
achieve his or her best.
51 46 2 0 2
The school works closely with parents. 63 24 14 0 0
The school is well led and managed. 63 34 0 3 0
The school is helping my child become mature and
53 47 0 0 0
The school provides an interesting range of
activities outside lessons.
53 36 10 0 2
Due to rounding percentages do not total 100.
PART D: THE STANDARDS AND QUALITY OF TEACHING IN AREAS OF THE
CURRICULUM, SUBJECTS AND COURSES
AREAS OF LEARNING FOR CHILDREN IN THE FOUNDATION STAGE
58. Children in the Foundation Stage are taught in the reception class. Currently there are
13 children in the class. All children started school full-time in the first half-term of the year,
between the start of September and the end of October. Almost all the children have had
some pre-school experience, attending one of the eight playgroups serving the area. The
school has good links with these playgroups and almost all children become familiar with the
school before their first day. Children are assessed shortly after they start school and the
results of these assessments show attainment on entry to be average overall, although there
are considerable variations between different year groups. The previous inspection report
indicated that attainment on entry was average and this remains the case.
59. Provision for the Foundation Stage is satisfactory, with strengths in personal, social
and emotional development and in some aspects of communication, language and literacy.
Teaching is good in these two areas and satisfactory in all other areas of learning. A strength
of the provision is the good use of visits and visitors which bring the curriculum to life and
make learning fun. Children make a sound start to their education and make at least
satisfactory progress in all the prescribed areas of learning.
60. By the time they leave the Foundation Stage children are likely to attain the Early
Learning Goals in all the areas of learning, apart from personal, social and emotional
development, where most children are likely to exceed the goals. Children make a good start
to their early reading and speaking and listening skills and are on course to exceed the Early
Learning Goals in these areas. Although only children has been identified as having special
educational needs, staff know the children well and make satisfactory provision for children of
61. A notable feature of the provision is an excellent newsletter, produced by the teacher
and sent to all parents every fortnight. It is full of useful information about what children will be
learning and tips for parents. It is superbly presented and makes a significant contribution to
the overall quality of learning.
62. Overall, the school has made satisfactory progress since the last inspection.
Personal, social and emotional development
63. Children's personal, social and emotional development is given a high priority, and to
good effect. Teaching and learning are good. A welcoming, calm and relaxed atmosphere is
created with consistent and very well organised routines. This provides children with security
and helps them to build confidence. Children respond very positively to the care of the staff
and the very good role models they provide. This is instrumental in helping children develop
good attitudes to school and in forming very good relationships with adults and with each
other. The high quality of relationships plays a significant part in children's good
achievements. Throughout the day, children play happily, alone or alongside each other. In
the role play corner, presently in the form of a pet shop, they share, take turns and co-operate
with each other. In ‘circle time’ sessions they listen to one another in a mature and sensible
manner. When working in groups, children help each other and concentrate well, always
trying hard to achieve successful results. When playing together, children show
consideration and care for each other.
64. Children have a good range of opportunities that give them a chance to show a sense
of responsibility and they undertake routine jobs with confidence and enthusiasm. The
teacher encourages children to develop independence by providing opportunities for choice
and by, for example, involving them in tidying the classroom at the end of sessions.
Communication, language and literacy
65. Children's achievements in this area of learning are good overall, with particular
strengths in the way speaking and listening skills and early reading skills are developed. This
is because the teacher, through the effective use of story telling and ‘circle time’ sessions,
uses every opportunity to talk to children, successfully promoting speaking and listening
skills, as well as developing a positive interest in books.
66. Children respond with enthusiasm and are eager to read books and participate in
rhymes and songs. Children have developed a wide range of vocabulary associated with
books and more able children can already describe the difference between fiction and non-
fiction books and use a contents page. A strength of teaching is the emphasis given to
children's development of the sounds of letters and many know a good range of initial sounds
that help them identify simple words. Almost all children understand that print conveys
meaning. They handle books carefully. The more able children use expression in their
reading and read with confidence. The good level of achievement in reading owes much to
detailed records of each child's progress kept by the teacher, and the superb support that
parents give in terms of taking books home and encouraging their children with early reading
67. The role play area is used well to develop speaking skills and children try hard to
describe the animals in the pet shop, using phrases such as "floppy tails and little beady
eyes". Early writing skills are effectively supported by the teacher through the modelling of
writing on the board, although writing skills are not developed as well, especially for the more
able children, as in other areas of communication, language and literacy.
68. This area of learning is well provided for in the choice of activities and in the daily
numeracy session, and levels of achievement are satisfactory.
69. Children enjoy a range of floor games that encourage them to order numbers from one
to ten. They use a floor robot skilfully to move forwards and backwards along a number line
and more able children can work out how many spaces it needs to travel to, for example,
move back from the number ten to the number three. More able children use the term zero
accurately. Children learn to sort and order shapes and colours and make repeated patterns
with beads and counters.
70. Teaching is satisfactory. A strength of teaching is the good range of activities available
for children during numeracy sessions. A weakness is that, in group tasks, there is a rather
narrow range in the challenge offered to children and more able children are not always fully
stretched. In particular, recording skills are not developed at the same rate as children's
mathematical knowledge. In some lessons the teacher works without any adult support and
this leads to a lack of adult interventions in activities such as water and sand play, with the
result that vocabulary skills are not well developed, especially for the more able.
Knowledge and understanding of the world
71. When children start school, they have a basic understanding of their world. Satisfactory
teaching and the wide range of planned activities enable children to broaden their knowledge
and understanding so that the majority are on course to meet the Early Learning Goals.
Particularly good use is made of the school grounds and local village, and children much
enjoy finding out about the life cycle of frogs and the various types of animals and plants they
see around the school.
72. Children learn about the world around them from the good range of visitors to their
class. Recent visitors that they have enjoyed include representatives of the police and
RSPCA. The role play area is used well to develop children's knowledge of pets and how they
are cared for.
73. Children have a satisfactory range of opportunities to use computers. They learn to use
the keyboard, shift key and space bar, and many children know how to operate and control
the floor robot. However, in some sessions during the inspection opportunities to use the
computer were missed.
74. Teaching is satisfactory. Children have a reasonable range of opportunities to develop
their physical skills and the majority are on course to meet the Early Learning Goals by the
time they leave the reception class.
75. Levels of achievement are constrained by the lack of a dedicated play space for
children in the reception class. Good use is made of the school hall, playground and orchard
area immediately outside the classroom. However, the school recognises the need for a
specific play area for children in the Foundation Stage and plans to develop such an area
feature in the school's present improvement plan.
76. When using the playground, children use ball skills to play simple team games and
develop skills such as running, hopping and jumping. Children make good use of construction
kits to develop fine motor skills satisfactorily, and use scissors, pencils and crayons with
77. As in other areas of learning, effective use is made of visitors to the school and children
recently enjoyed a visit from a circus group who helped develop skills in balancing, throwing
and catching, and early juggling skills.
78. Teaching is satisfactory. There is a good emphasis on providing a wide range of
suitable activities so that most children are on course to meet the Early Learning Goals by
the end of the school year. Children play imaginatively in the role play area, which is changed
regularly in order to provide a range of different challenges. During the inspection, children
used this area well to develop their imaginative play as they looked after various different
79. Children handle crayons, pencils and paints well. They create bold paintings of
rainbows and use computers effectively to create pictures using a commercial program.
They use a good range of three-dimensional materials such as clay and playdough, and have
made an impressive moonscape using papier maché.
80. Children benefit from a good range of musical instruments and much enjoyed a song
and dance session with the local ‘Ditcheat Players’. They clap and use simple percussion
instruments to accompany their singing.
81. Standards in English are average. Standards in literacy vary from year to year due to
the small number of pupils in each year group. In 2001, Year 6 gained national tests results
that were average when compared to all schools. Inspection findings confirm that Year 6
pupils achieve satisfactorily. The majority of pupils gain standards which are in line with
national averages. However, when compared to similar schools the test results are well
below average. This is as a result of a third of last year's Year 6 pupils having special
educational needs. The school recognises that recent results in tests for Year 6 pupils have
been constrained by the fact that pupils' achievements in writing have lagged behind their
performance in reading.
82. The school’s test results for last year show that writing and reading standards for the
Year 2 class were average. However, they were below average when their tests were
compared to similar schools. The present Year 2 has only five pupils but they are mostly
working at average levels in reading and writing. The majority of pupils achieve satisfactorily
and standards in reading are average. In writing, the range of vocabulary used is too limited
and there is a lack of thoughtful adjectives.
83. There are slight differences in the attainment of boys and girls in Years 2 and 6, but
there is no significant difference between them over the last few years. Arrangements for the
inclusion of all pupils are suitably achieved in all literacy lessons, but more able pupils are not
fully extended in writing. Gifted and talented pupils are identified, and work with pupils of
similar ability. Older gifted pupils have benefited from being given opportunities to attend extra
writers' workshops and sessions at the local secondary school. Test results over the past
four years demonstrate that standards have been appropriately maintained and they have
broadly improved at the national rate.
84. When pupils enter the school they have average speaking and listening skills. The
school provides appropriate opportunities for pupils to develop their vocabulary. Pupils
achieve satisfactorily, increasing their skills steadily. In Years 2 and 6 pupils achieve average
levels of oral skills. Year 2 pupils explain to the class what they are thankful for and discuss
matters of mutual concern in circle time discussion sessions. Pupils in Year 6 develop their
understanding of vocabulary when they stand at the front of the class and act out adverbs
such as frighteningly and sympathetically.
85. The literacy hour has been suitably used to develop reading skills and word recognition.
Throughout the school pupils achieve satisfactorily in learning to read. Average pupils have a
satisfactory grasp of reading and they use their skills to sound out unknown words. Year 2
pupils confidently answered questions about which words could be used to label a drawing of
people shopping. Reading skills of more able pupils in Year 2 enable them to scan text for key
words quickly. The reading skills of those with special educational needs are below average,
but pupils are making good achievements with their recall of basic high frequency words.
Standards of reading in Year 6 are above average. The Year 6 pupils read complicated and
challenging books such as ‘Lord of the Rings’ by JRR Tolkien. They know how to use a
content and index page and know how to retrieve books efficiently from the library.
Comprehension skills are satisfactory, although pupils’ deduction and inference skills are not
so well developed. Pupils’ independent research skills are appropriate, but ICT is not often
used to improve these skills.
86. Standards in writing are average in Year 2. The school has recently planned more
writing lessons for pupils to practise and develop their skills. The majority of pupils in Year 2
can write simple stories or factual accounts. They write interesting stories of the Winter
Robin. Average pupils can write about weekend activities using capital letters and full stops
mostly accurately. More able pupils in Year 2 are beginning to add adjectives and connectives
to their writing to make it more exciting. Pupils with special educational needs are able to
form words, so that they are readable, and write a few words to label a drawing for a leaflet
about seed dispersal.
87. Writing standards in Year 6 are average, but clearly lag behind standards in reading.
Pupils achieve satisfactorily in writing and the majority can write at nationally expected levels.
This was seen when pupils wrote about whether school uniform should be worn or not. A
number of more able pupils in the Years 3 to 6 classes are not achieving high enough
standards. This is because teachers’ planning rarely sets specific challenges for these
pupils. The best writing incorporates adventurous vocabulary, utilises grammar, punctuation
and spelling accurately. A more able Year 6 pupil, for example, wrote the following opening to
“It was Halloween. Mist lay like a thick quilt over the moors and the moon shone feebly,
casting an eerie grayish light over the dew soaked heather.”
88. Handwriting standards are satisfactory. Younger pupils regularly practise forming their
letters correctly. Older pupils in Year 6 are mostly using joined up writing in their work
effectively when they copy poems about numbers. The school plans to invest in a new
handwriting scheme to further improve pupils’ use of neat joined up handwriting in all
subjects. Spelling is average and the school regularly asks pupils to learn groups of similarly
89. The teaching of literacy is satisfactory. There was no unsatisfactory teaching in
lessons and one good lesson was seen. Teachers throughout the school have a good
understanding of how to promote reading skills which means that pupils learn to read
accurately. However teachers are less secure about how to develop writing. Since the last
inspection there have been improvements in the teaching of literacy. For instance weekly
planning now sets clear learning objectives ensuring that the teachers are well focused on
what pupils should be learning. However, specific challenges for the more able are not
consistently present. The best teaching incorporates many of the following characteristics:
§ Good behaviour management focuses on positive reinforcement and ensures that pupils
concentrate on tasks carefully;
§ Effective use of teaching assistants;
§ Learning objectives are displayed and shared with the class at the beginning as well as
the end of lessons;
§ Effective use of paired discussion;
§ Good use of stimulating resources.
90. Teachers are carefully marking work to assess the strengths of pupils' work. However,
they do not usually record development areas enabling pupils to take the next steps in their
learning. Teachers' knowledge of the National Curriculum levels in writing is not used well in
the marking of pupils' work with the result that pupils cannot easily identify what they need to
do to improve further. Teachers’ spoken comments do not tell pupils specifically what they
are doing well, so pupils are not sure which aspects of their work they should utilise in future.
There are few opportunities for pupils to self-evaluate their work in lessons. Information and
communication technology is not well used to teach aspects of literacy.
91. Attitudes to English are very good throughout the school. Pupils enjoy lessons,
concentrate hard and invariably do their best. Behaviour in lessons is consistently very good.
These positive attitudes make a significant contribution to the quality of learning throughout
92. The co-ordinator sets a good example by the high quality of her teaching of literacy. The
English action plan guides the school effectively. Significant improvements have been made
in planning since the last inspection. Assessment is used effectively when teachers record
their evaluations of pupils' learning in lessons. A recent awareness of weaknesses in pupils'
writing meant that a detailed analysis was carried out. This has informed the school that
younger pupils need to develop their use of adventurous words and older pupils need to work
on producing complex sentences. Resources are good, although the school recognises the
need to renew many library books. Overall, the school has made satisfactory progress in
English since the last inspection.
93. Results of 2001 National Curriculum tests and assessments for pupils in Year 6 show
that standards were below the national average and well below when compared to other
similar schools. Comparisons with national averages have to be treated with some caution
because of the small number of pupils in each year group. The 2001 Year 6 group had
almost one-third of pupils identified with special educational needs, compared to less than
one-tenth in other year groups.
94. In the 2001 tests for pupils in Year 2, standards were average, both in terms of national
and similar schools comparisons. The proportion of pupils reaching the expected Level 2
was above average, but fewer than average reached the higher Level 3. There are no
significant differences between the attainment of boys and girls.
95. Standards observed during the inspection in Year 6 were considerably higher than last
year. This is due to a large reduction in the number of pupils with special educational needs.
The proportion of pupils working at the expected level is above average, whilst the proportion
working at the higher level is average. A strength of work in Year 6 is the good standard in all
aspects of number work and the good range of work covering all aspects of the mathematics
curriculum. In the present Year 2 there are only five pupils, so comparisons with national
percentages are rather meaningless, although it is clear that all these pupils are achieving
well in terms of their prior attainment.
96. In all classes, pupils with special educational needs achieve well. They have detailed
individual education plans, often with suitable targets to support their numeracy work, and are
well supported by learning support assistants. They are fully included in all activities.
97. The National Numeracy Strategy has been successfully introduced throughout the
school and has made a significant contribution to the improvement in pupils' ability to
98. By the age of seven, most pupils can double and half numbers and have learnt the two,
five and ten times tables. Pupils use a number line with care and skill and can quickly identify
pairs of numbers that make 20. They are able to sort and classify various two- and three-
dimensional shapes. Appropriate vocabulary is used in all mathematics lessons and pupils
take great pride in using the language for themselves, in most cases correctly. Pupils have a
clear idea of capacity and accurately describe it as, ‘how much room there is inside’.
99. By the age of 11, pupils' confidence has grown and pupils can use a variety of mental
and written methods for calculating numbers beyond 1000 and they recognise and use digits
to three decimal places. In working out long division sums such as 507 divided by 34, pupils
use a range of appropriate strategies showing a good understanding of numbers and place
value. More able pupils are challenged well by tasks such as 200.2 divided by 7 and they
show a good understanding of decimals when correctly working out the answer. Pupils
numeracy skills are used soundly in other subjects, including science, measuring in design
and technology, timelines in history and graph work in various subjects.
100. Throughout the school, the quality of teaching and learning in mathematics is good.
During the inspection, nearly half the lessons were satisfactory and the rest were good or
better. There was no unsatisfactory teaching. A feature of teaching is the consistent manner
in which lessons are delivered in different parts of the school. All lessons are well organised
and presented in a lively and interesting manner. The mental warm-up sessions are
challenging and much enjoyed by pupils, although they tend to be one-paced. There are few
examples of pupils being required to offer instant answers. Planning is good and teachers
generally ensure that pupils of all abilities work at appropriate tasks. Time is used reasonably
well, although, in some lessons, the amount of time allocated to group work was insufficient
to allow pupils to complete all the work expected of them. The quality of teachers' marking is
satisfactory; praise and encouragement are used effectively but pupils are rarely given a
clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses. A weakness of teaching is the limited use
that is made of ICT to support pupils' learning in mathematics throughout the school.
101. The good quality of learning owes much to the very positive attitudes of pupils in all
classes. Relationships are excellent and pupils have a relaxed and confident approach to
their work. Homework is used regularly to support pupils' learning.
102. The mathematics curriculum has been improved since the last inspection and is now
based securely on the National Numeracy Strategy, resulting in it being broad and balanced
with a good emphasis on mental mathematics, problem solving and investigations.
Arrangements for assessing and tracking pupils' progress are much improved and underpin
the clear improvements in this subject. Teachers keep detailed information on each pupil’s
progress and this data is revisited regularly to check that the work presented to pupils is
closely related to what they have recently completed. However, this information is not shared
sufficiently with pupils who do not always have a clear enough idea of what they need to do to
103. The subject is well led by an enthusiastic and effective co-ordinator. Teachers' planning
is monitored and the school's test results are analysed carefully to focus on how to improve
standards. Overall, the school has made good progress since the last inspection.
104. Standards are in line with the national average for both seven and 11 year olds. In the
2001 National Curriculum tests and assessments the proportion reaching the expected Level
4 was above the national average for 11 year olds, although the proportion reaching the
higher Level 5 was below average. Compared to their prior attainments, pupils, including
those with special educational needs, achieve satisfactorily. The school has maintained the
satisfactory standards described in the last inspection report.
105. By the age of seven, pupils have developed sound scientific skills, knowledge and
understanding. For example, children in the Year 1/2 class are able to classify animals that
can be found on the ground, in trees and in the air. They study parts of the body and can
recall accurately the names of different bones, joints and muscles. Observation skills are
developing well and pupils can observe and compare different creatures that they find in the
school grounds, making valid suggestions about the kind of habitats they might require.
Pupils' levels of achievement are enhanced by the good use of the school grounds and local
environment to bring the subject to life and make learning interesting.
106. By the age of 11, pupils' knowledge and understanding of living things is satisfactory.
Pupils have a sound understanding of electrical circuits and can identify magnetic and non-
magnetic materials. They can identify reasons why a bulb fails to light in a circuit. Pupils have
a good knowledge of plants and animals and their different living conditions. Pupils
demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of investigation, from prediction to conclusions,
recording their findings in tables and bar charts. Most pupils can describe the factors that
make up a fair test.
107. The quality of teaching in science is satisfactory throughout the school. A strength of
teaching is the practical approach to the subject and the imaginative use of the school
grounds and local environment. This was exemplified in a Year 1/2 lesson in which pupils
searched the school grounds for mini-beasts and became excited as they discovered wood
lice, ants, spiders, bees, butterflies and various plants. Lessons contain clear explanations
and the learning objectives are shared with pupils at the beginning, and referred to
appropriately during the lesson. Pupils are managed very well and all lessons have a calm,
purposeful atmosphere. Teachers organise lessons well and focus careful attention on the
use of correct scientific vocabulary.
108. The quality of teaching and learning is enhanced by the use of a detailed scheme of
work that guides teachers in their planning of the subject and ensures that the work
presented to pupils carefully builds on what they have previously learnt. Despite a number of
positive features, teaching is judged to be satisfactory rather than good because of the weak
use of ICT to support learning. In a Year 5/6 lesson on classifying objects, a group did work
with an appropriate piece of software that did make a constructive contribution to the quality
of learning in that lesson, but a thorough scrutiny of pupils' work over the course of the school
year indicates that ICT is rarely used to support learning in this way.
109. The pace of work is satisfactory, although there are limited opportunities for pupils to
develop their literacy and numeracy skills in science lessons. The presentation of pupils'
recorded work is variable; some is neat and extremely well presented, whilst some is rather
untidy and poorly presented.
110. Science is well led. The co-ordinator is extremely well informed, enthusiastic and
determined to improve standards further. The scheme of work has been substantially
improved since the last inspection, as have resources, which are now good and extremely
well organised. A programme of professional development has been organised for staff and
this has improved teachers' subject knowledge. Overall, the school has made satisfactory
progress since the last inspection and is well placed to improve further.
ART AND DESIGN
111. Judgements in art and design are made on the basis of the small number of lessons
which could be seen during the inspection week, on samples of pupils' work and teachers'
planning, as well as a scrutiny of pupils' work on display around the school. Standards at the
ages of seven and 11 are in line with national expectations. Pupils, including those with
special educational needs, achieve satisfactorily throughout the school. The situation
described in the last report has been maintained.
112. By the age of seven, pupils can mix colours and draw and paint with reasonable levels
of skill. Throughout the school there is an emphasis on developing good drawing skills and
pupils achieve well in this aspect of art and design. Pupils in the Year 1/2 class have a good
range of experiences working in media such as chalk and charcoal, as well as various
crayons and inks. They develop their skills of observation and draw lifelike representations of
bicycles and tricycles.
113. In Years 3 to 6, pupils undertake a broad range of appropriate activities, many of which
are effectively linked to other subjects. For example, their geographical study of Kenya led to
some good quality watercolour paintings of Kenyan landscapes and a whole school focus on
‘World week led to a study of famous European artists including Van Gogh, Monet and
Picasso. Similarly, an historical study of the Egyptians, led to some thoughtful designs of
Egyptian pots and artefacts. Pupils in Year 5/6 have studied how to use tone in landscape
pictures and were able to discuss the work of Turner and Monet in this respect. Pupils
throughout the school have their own sketchbooks, but the use of these is generally weak;
most pupils have completed few efforts and the quality of work in sketchbooks is below that
normally seen. Discussions with pupils in Year 6 illustrate the fact that pupils enjoy art
lessons and recall them with enthusiasm and affection, although pupils' recall of what they
had learnt about famous artists was rather superficial. Pupils experience different aspects of
art from around the world and their studies in this subject make a positive contribution to their
114. Teaching is satisfactory throughout the school. Teachers make good use of a detailed
scheme of work to ensure that skills are developed carefully as pupils move through the
school. Teachers manage lessons well and make good use of the wide range of resources.
A strength of work across the school is the good range of media used by pupils. Teachers
focus well on the three-dimensional aspects of the subject, using clay, collage, weaving and
model making effectively to give pupils a wide range of experiences across the art and design
curriculum. A weakness in teaching is the lack of use of ICT to support pupils' learning in art
and design. The school does have appropriate software and this is used but only on an
occasional basis. The school has not yet done a great deal in terms of assessing pupils' art
and design work, although this does feature as a priority in the school improvement plan.
115. Subject leadership is good. The subject co-ordinator has a great enthusiasm for the
subject and guides teachers effectively in terms of the planning of the subject. Resources are
kept up to date and are very well organised and easily accessible. Art displays throughout the
school are of a high standard and reflect the high priority given to this subject.
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
116. The school presented a reasonable quantity of evidence of pupils’ work in design and
technology. Standards are in line with national expectations by the time pupils leave the
school. The majority of pupils achieve satisfactorily. This maintains the situation found at the
last inspection for pupils in Years 2 and 6. Arrangements for the inclusion of all pupils,
including those with special educational needs in the curriculum, is suitably achieved due to
the use of interesting and challenging projects. Those pupils with special educational needs
have good provision and they achieve well. Boys and girls achieve similar standards.
117. Teaching promotes pupils’ planning skills satisfactorily. This was evident from Year 6
musical instrument designs. Pupils drew diagrams of a slipper, which they planned to make.
However, pupils' diagrams only contain a few labels. For instance, they do not use labels to
explain how the pieces of the product will be joined. Pupils drew four different uses for alarm
systems and investigated how sound is made in instruments. Planning in Years 5 and 6 is
held in pupils' useful ‘Design and Technology Book’, which records work completed during
the course of the year. A ‘Design and Technology Book’, which is used for several years,
enables teachers and the co-ordinator to monitor pupils’ standards of planning and evaluation
118. Overall, pupils' making skills are in line with national expectations in Years 2 and 6. The
glove puppets made by Year 2 demonstrated accurate measuring, cutting and joining skills.
Pupils know how to use a template to cut out an accurate piece of fabric. Sewing skills were
well developed when pupils practised sewing a variety of fabrics together. The musical
instruments designed and made by Year 6 pupils demonstrated thoughtful use of scientific
knowledge. Pupils in Years 3 and 4 used one type of mechanism to make pop-up books.
Mouldable materials were used effectively when pupils made clay masks and pots. Foods
were combined suitably when pupils made bread, mince pies and Easter cakes. Year 6
pupils have used fabric paint to add designs to T-shirts.
119. The evaluation of pupils’ products is undertaken by older pupils. There is evidence of
Years 5 and 6 pupils writing detailed evaluations of their musical instruments. However,
younger pupils do not consistently identify the strengths and development areas in their work.
120. No teaching of design and technology was observed during the inspection. Discussions
with pupils and the co-ordinator, as well as an analysis of planning indicates that the quality of
teaching is satisfactory. Effective use of the national guidance for this subject means there is
steady skills' development, which is an improvement since the last inspection. Basic skills
have been taught suitably when pupils learn how to plan and evaluate their work. Effective
learning methods are used when a variety of resources are utilised to make products. Pupils
enjoy the practical activities in this subject. They talk about the fun they had testing out their
musical instruments. However, ICT is underused to support pupils' work in this subject.
121. Since the previous inspection, the school has developed a whole school programme of
work. The creation of a new two-year plan of topics linking all aspects of the subject means
pupils will have an opportunity to develop skills appropriately throughout the school.
Monitoring of teachers’ planning by the acting headteacher has assisted the school to
develop its use of specific learning objectives. The co-ordinator has worked appropriately to
maintain the level of provision for this subject. However, neither pupils’ nor teachers’ planning
have been monitored by the co-ordinator and this does not guarantee quality. There have
been considerable improvements in the use of assessment. Teachers regularly evaluate
pupils’ learning in lessons and assess pupils’ achievements on record sheets. The cross
curricular links with other subjects are well established.
122. Standards of pupils’ work in geography at the ages of seven and 11 are in line with
those expected nationally. The satisfactory standards seen in the last inspection have been
maintained. Pupils, including those with special educational needs, achieve satisfactorily
throughout the school.
123. By the age of seven, pupils have learnt about their local environment by studying the
village of Ditcheat and comparing and contrasting it with other places, such as a seaside
town like Weston-super-Mare. They use their knowledge to draw simple maps and can use a
key to locate places such as the church, school and post office. Pupils effectively compare
the main features of towns, countryside and seaside.
124. By the age of 11, pupils undertake considerable research work into aspects such as
rivers and water usage. Good use is made of visits to bring the subject alive and Year 6
pupils (despite the awful weather on the day!) thoroughly enjoyed a visit to the source of the
local River Axe. They tracked the river to its estuary and developed a wide range of
geographical terms, such as source and meander, and studied the impact of water
underground during a visit to Wookey Hole. As pupils move through the school they study
different localities in greater depth. For example, they use photographs and books to contrast
life in Ditcheat with a farming village in Kenya. Their studies of Kenya were further enlivened
by a visitor who had lived in that country.
125. Although no lessons were observed during the inspection, it is clear from a scrutiny of
pupils' work and teachers' planning, that teaching over time is satisfactory. Good use is made
of a detailed scheme of work to guide teachers' planning and ensure the gradual build up of
pupils' skills. A strength of teaching is the effective use of artefacts and visits to bring the
subject to life. A weakness is the limited range of opportunities that pupils have to use ICT to
further their studies.
126. Subject leadership is satisfactory. The subject co-ordinator is new to the role, but has
already undertaken a thorough audit of resources and recognises the need to improve the
use of ICT.
127. Standards in history have improved considerably since the last inspection and are now
above national expectations at the end of Year 2 and Year 6. These improvements reflect the
outstanding leadership of the subject co-ordinator who has given history a very high profile in
the life of the school. All pupils, including those with special educational needs, achieve well
throughout the school.
128. By the age of seven, pupils effectively develop their knowledge and understanding of
the lives of people in the past. From the beginning pupils are encouraged to develop good
enquiry skills by seeking out primary sources, such as interviewing people in the community
about life in the past. Pupils understand that life was different in the past and can compare
and contrast the different toys used by children then and now. Pupils study the lives of
famous people from different periods of history, such as Grace Darling and Boudicca.
129. By the age of 11, pupils have a good knowledge of the key dates, periods and events in
British history. Teachers make effective use of a detailed scheme of work that ensures that,
as they move from Year 3 to Year 6, pupils study a wide range of historical topics in
considerable depth. In all the topics studied there is a good emphasis on interpreting
evidence and trying to sort out fact from fiction. A wide range of visits, both in the local
community and beyond, helps bring the subject to life. Pupils benefit from visits to places
such as the Bristol Museum and the Haynes Motor Museum. Pupils develop a thorough
knowledge of the range of sources used in history, and Year 6 pupils talk confidently about
how they have used the Internet, CD-ROMs, photographs, artefacts and books to find out
information. Pupils' knowledge and understanding is greatly enhanced by the effective links
with drama, when pupils use role play in order to empathise with people in the past. Year 6
pupils especially recall how they used ‘the hot seat’ when studying the impact of evacuation
for children in the Second World War; this involved one pupil pretending to be an evacuee
and being interviewed by fellow pupils. The depth of knowledge and understanding shown on
this aspect of history by pupils in Year 6 was well above that normally seen.
130. Teaching is at least good throughout the school and outstanding in the Year 5/6 class.
The one history lesson seen in Year 5/6 was excellent. In order to bring to life the reality of life
in the Victorian classroom the teacher took the lesson, without any explanatory preamble, in
the persona of an actual teacher at Ditcheat School in the 1870s. Using sources from the log
book of the school for that period, she dramatically explained many of the differences and
similarities between life then and now. Using copies from the log book, pupils were able to
build up a detailed and accurate picture of the daily lives of children during that period. This
was a rare and exceptional lesson, and pupils appreciated it by working with terrific
enthusiasm and commitment.
131. Subject leadership is outstanding. The co-ordinator's enthusiasm for the subject has
had a clear impact on work throughout the school. Resources are good and very well
organised and pupils benefit from a good range of interesting and stimulating artefacts.
Displays in classrooms indicate that history is given a high priority throughout the school.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
132. Standards in information and communication technology for Years 2 and 6 are in line
with national expectations. This is an improvement from the position at the last inspection
when ‘standards were below nationally expected levels in both key stages’. Due to the new
ICT suite all pupils are achieving appropriately. Arrangements for the inclusion of all pupils
including those with special educational needs, have been suitably achieved due to the use of
classroom assistants and the ICT suite. The achievements of boys and girls are appropriate
for their different abilities and there are no significant patterns to their attainment.
133. In Year 2 standards are average. The majority of pupils can word process and save
their writing. They know how to use the delete and shift key. Most pupils can draw a picture
and use the spray function. Pupils use circles, triangles and stars to make a witch map. Year
2 pupils have created a graph to show their favourite colours. They have reordered lines of a
poem using the mouse so that they make sense. Pupils enjoy programming a simple robot to
move backwards and forwards. When they explored an adventure programme they used the
arrow keys to move themselves around a maze. However, few pupils know how to retrieve
their own work, nor do they print out their work often enough.
134. The standards of pupils in Year 6 are average. Year 6 pupils add images to texts and
word process. One more able pupil word-processed a play script that was then used to
create a show for the retiring vicar. Year 4 changed font sizes and printed out interesting
words. Years 3 and 4 pupils stored and sorted information about sea creatures using data
handling programmes. Year 5 pupils drew faces using effects from the tool bar. Years 5 and
6 knew how to search a database and used more than one criterion. Older pupils drew up a
flow chart to programme a set of traffic lights. This is an improvement since the last
inspection when pupils only knew how to word process. More able Year 6 pupils knew how to
use e-mail, but the majority had not been taught how to do this. The Internet has been used in
ICT lessons to carry out research, but this valuable resource is underused in lessons across
the curriculum. Pupils rarely use the computers apart from their weekly lesson. Pupils with
special educational needs are well supported by staff and achieve well.
135. Evidence taken from two lessons, an analysis of pupils’ work and discussion with
pupils in Years 2 and 6, as well as with the subject co-ordinator, indicate that the quality of
teaching is satisfactory. Teachers have established effective teaching methods to develop
basic skills by using the computer suite. Basic skills of ICT were suitably taught when Years
3 and 4 pupils learnt how to input information into a database. The teacher gave a clear
explanation of how to interrogate and search databases when pupils in Years 5 and 6 learnt
how to enter fields they would like to use to sort data. Teaching assistants were well used to
enable pupils to learn about how to analyse facts from charts. Teachers’ assess pupils’ work
on assessment sheets accurately. However, some teachers do not have the expertise they
need to utilise all the programs. Pupils enjoy using the computers due to the positive
approach of teachers. Pupils work sensibly and independently on them, overcoming
problems for themselves due to high expectations and management skills of teachers.
Teachers do not always use open-ended questioning and the use of self-evaluation by pupils
is not often seen in lessons. The weekly planning of teachers is satisfactory, but there is no
specific challenge for more able pupils.
136. The co-ordinator has worked effectively to develop the use of the ICT suite. A new two-
year rolling programme of study has been created utilising the national guidance. The subject
has been carefully monitored. As a result of this extra guidance booklets were produced to
support pupils use of the spell checker and text bar. While the computers in the ICT suite are
good, they do not have a wide range of programs for numeracy, simulations or music. The
use of computers in other subjects is underdeveloped. There are two computers in reception,
but they are old and unreliable.
137. Standards are in line in music with the nationally expected levels in Years 2 and 6 and
pupils achieve satisfactorily. This is an improvement since the last inspection when
standards did not meet national expectations. The school has placed a high emphasis on the
teaching of music and has made considerable improvements in the provision for this subject.
There are many opportunities to sing, appreciate and create music in collective worship and
lessons. The tuition provided by a specialist teacher is effective in developing pupils'
achievements throughout the school. Resources have been developed to support a new
whole school programme of work. The teaching of the subject has been effectively monitored
with positive effects on learning. Pupils have the opportunity to learn to play the keyboard or
the violin. Inclusion arrangements for all pupils, including those with special educational
needs are suitably achieved. There is no significant difference in the achievements of boys
138. Singing is an important part of the music curriculum. Pupils enjoy singing a wide variety
of songs. For instance, they all sang ‘It’s a still small voice’ and ‘From a tiny ant’ beautifully in
a singing assembly. This was due to knowledgeable instruction from the teacher. In lessons,
pupils learn how to sing high, medium and low notes because of effective learning methods
of the teacher. A recent visit from a Zambian minister inspired pupils to learn an African song.
Nearly half the pupils enjoy participating in an after-school choir and regularly perform songs
for parents. Pupils with special educational needs are carefully supported and achieve well in
139. Composing skills are appropriately taught. Pupils in Year 2 learn how to record a
musical composition on paper using three lines of score. Here the teacher’s knowledge and
understanding of how to record notes on paper simply enabled pupils to make effective gains
in learning about high, medium and low notes. Years 1 and 2 pupils recorded their tunes on a
tape so that they could listen to their work. Older pupils in Year 6 have composed tunes using
instruments, which are pitched and non pitched. For example, pupils have used keyboards,
chimes, maracas, drums, triangles, Agogos and cymbals to compose music. However,
pupils do not recall often having recorded their compositions on paper or on tape.
140. The appreciation of music is suitably established. Pupils in Year 6 select the music the
school listens to in assemblies from the school resources. All pupils are encouraged to
appreciate the meaning of lyrics. Older pupils have opportunities to compare and contrast old
and new pieces of music. They can discuss which is their favourite song or part of the
141. The standards seen indicate that the quality of teaching is satisfactory. In the one
lesson seen many effective teaching methods were observed. Basic skills were well taught
when warm up activities were used to develop pupils' understanding of pitch. Effective
learning methods were utilised when listening, and musical skills were promoted when the
pupils sung ‘Heads and shoulders, knees and toes’. Teachers’ good subject knowledge
means that pupils learn simple musical notation. Teachers did not consistently plan specific
challenges for the more able pupils in lessons. Pupils enjoyed all aspects of music tuition due
to the positive approach of teachers. Pupils concentrated well and co-operated effectively
because of teachers’ good behaviour management.
142. The co-ordinator has selected an appropriate range of music for pupils to listen to in
collective worship sessions. However, these resources are not as wide as they might be.
Whilst there are sufficient musical instruments from other cultures, these resources could be
more varied. The co-ordinator is aware that information and communication technology is
underused in the school to develop music and ICT skills, but there are no computer
programs to achieve this.
143. During the inspection, lessons were observed covering country dance and games, but
there were no gymnastic lessons timetabled. Pupils, including those with special educational
needs, show satisfactory levels of achievement in games and good levels of achievement in
country dancing. Although there were no swimming lessons during the inspection, records of
pupils' attainment indicate that levels of achievement in this area of physical education are
144. Pupils in the Year 1/2 class work with great enthusiasm. When warming up, they move
confidently under the careful direction of the teacher, showing appropriate awareness of
space and other pupils. Throwing and catching skills are satisfactory and most pupils can
throw a bean bag correctly and with reasonable control. Pupils are encouraged to develop
their skills as they throw a bean bag into a hoop that is gradually moved further and further
away. In country dancing, pupils show good control of their feet to keep in time to the music
and develop levels of co-ordination and balance effectively.
145. By the age of 11, pupils have developed their country dancing skills extremely well and
show considerably confidence in their performances. Skills in this area are greatly enhanced
by a well attended after school club that is much enjoyed by pupils. This activity makes a
positive contribution to pupils' social and personal development in the way in which it
encourages boys and girls of all ages to work co-operatively. The school has a positive
commitment to swimming and, even though trips to a public pool involve a lengthy journey,
pupils benefit from regular lessons and, as a result, achieve standards above the nationally
146. The quality of teaching and learning is good in country dancing and satisfactory in
games. All lessons are well organised and presented in a lively and enthusiastic manner. In
the better lessons, pupils' performances are evaluated in a constructive, critical way which
enables pupils to build up a clear picture of what exactly constitutes a good performance. In
most lessons, there is a good balance between pupils listening to explanations and actual
performance, although in games lessons there is sometimes too much talk from the teacher
and not enough action from the pupils. Pupils are managed very well and respond with
enthusiasm and determination.
147. A strength of the provision in physical education is the extensive range of activities
provided for pupils, both in and out of school time. Good use is made of professional coaches
who visit the school to provide expert tuition in activities such as tennis and rugby. The school
arranges several events, especially during the summer, to develop physical skills, including
sports days and an annual skipping day. Effective use is made of visits to places such as
Millfield School, to take advantage of the excellent sports facilities there. Once every two
years Ditcheat School organises a residential visit for older pupils, where they experience
activities such as abseiling, climbing and outdoor pursuits. Provision is further enhanced by
an excellent range of out of school activities including rounders, mini-sports, athletics,
hockey, football and netball.
148. The subject is very well led by an enthusiastic and effective co-ordinator. She gives
good support to teachers in terms of planning lessons and has encouraged good links
between physical education and other subjects. In history, for example, pupils in Year 5/6 had
their topic on ‘Britain since the 1930s’ brought to life by learning about the dances of that era,
including the waltz, jive and even the twist. Resources are good, well organised and used to
good effect. The school has made good progress in provision for physical education since
the last inspection.
149. In Years 2 and 6 pupils’ knowledge and understanding of religious education is in line
with the expectations of the locally agreed syllabus. Standards were in line with the locally
agreed expectations at the last inspection and so standards have been maintained. The
arrangements for the inclusion of all pupils, including those with special educational needs,
are suitably achieved due to good use of teaching assistants and use of open-ended
challenges. There is no significant difference in the achievements of boys and girls.
150. Standards of work seen in Year 2 were in line with the locally agreed expectations due
to satisfactory teaching. Effective teaching enables pupils to learn how to reflect about the
world effectively, so that they value people, their beliefs and places of worship. Pupils’
spiritual development is well provided for through this subject. In Years 1 and 2 pupils reflect
on their favourite part of the village and give a reason for choosing it. These pupils have
written thoughtfully about a special family memory. Pupils know that certain books are
special. For example, they understand that the Bible is special to Christians. Years 1 and 2
write about a particularly special book they own and say why. Many pupils comment that
these books are special to them because grandparents gave them to them. Years 5 and 6
pupils record carefully why the Qur’an is important to Muslims. Harvest Festival and Leavers’
services are used to develop pupils’ awareness of the wonderful gifts around us. After the
death of the Queen Mother, Years 3 and 4 learnt how to recognise a leader in the local
community as well as on a national level. More able pupils could identify what special
qualities the Queen Mother had. Older pupils use thoughtful vocabulary in a prayer giving
thanks for the joy of mornings. The achievements of pupils with special educational needs
demonstrate that these pupils are achieving well due to the effective support of teaching staff.
151. Pupils’ knowledge of religions has been satisfactorily promoted. Pupils have recorded
their own versions of many Bible stories such as the Good Samaritan, Abraham’s Journey,
Moses, the Last Supper and Jesus’ Crucifixion. They developed a clear understanding of
other faiths. For instance pupils wrote about the seven steps to happiness according to the
Hindu religion. Years 5 and 6 have designed Diwali greetings cards. Older pupils know about
how Muslims prepare for prayer with many special rituals. The story of the perils of Prahlada
was suitably recorded.
152. Pupils’ moral development is well developed through religious education teaching.
Years 1 and 2 have written their own class rules. They have discussed and written down
useful rules for the taking of medicines. Older Years 3 and 4 pupils have written in detail
about who can help us, for example they said that teachers, policemen and nurses are there
to help us. They write well about what makes a good friend.
153. The quality of teaching is satisfactory. Effective learning methods are used when pupils
learn to record their ideas about who they know is a leader. Good knowledge and
understanding by the teacher ensures that pupils learn to think deeply about what makes a
book special. Teachers’ planning sets clear learning objectives, which ensures teachers are
accurately focused on what pupils will be learning. However it does not record how more able
pupils will be specifically challenged. Pupils behave well and listen carefully to their teachers
due to effective management skills. The ends of lessons are used thoughtfully to discuss
pupils’ learning and so they achieve appropriately. This was seen when pupils read to the
class from their writing about what makes a book special, although pupils rarely self-evaluate
154. Since the last inspection there have been significant improvements. Teachers’ weekly
planning now has learning objectives that are specific. The co-ordinator has worked
effectively to develop the use of teachers' assessment and evaluation of learning. A two-year
rolling programme has been developed and there are now far more opportunities for pupils to
record their knowledge of religious education. Resources have been improved, but the co-
ordinator has plans to further develop these so that there are a rich variety of artefacts to