The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
This above average sized primary school serves a socially and economically disadvantaged area. The proportion of children eligible for free school meals is well above average. The proportion of children from minority ethnic groups is low and very few children are learning English as an additional language. The proportion of children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is broadly average. The school holds the Healthy School, Basic Skills and Roy Castle Clean Air Awards.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a good school with outstanding features. It provides a safe, caring and supportive environment in which pupils learn to value themselves as individuals, develop excellent inter-personal skills and grow to become confident and skilled learners. As a result, pupils' personal development and well-being are outstanding. This is reflected in pupils' politeness, their excellent relationships with each other and with adults in school and their positive attitudes to learning. Pupils are clearly proud of their school, they value the many opportunities to take responsibility and conduct themselves in a mature and sensible manner.
Children enter school with skills and knowledge that are well below those expected for their age and they leave Year 6 attaining average standards in English, mathematics and science. While they make outstanding progress in the earlier stages of their education, this progress has not been sustained in Years 3 to 6. The school is tackling this issue vigorously and progress in these years is accelerating. Pupils' achievement is good.
Teaching and learning is good overall and while there is some satisfactory teaching in school, there is also some teaching that is outstanding. Lessons are well managed and the school has established very good routines for involving pupils in their own learning. This helps pupils to understand what is expected of them and how they can evaluate for themselves how well they are doing. While very good systems for assessing pupils' progress are in place, the work set for pupils in Years 3 to 6 does not always accurately match their needs and this contributes to their relatively slower progress. The outstanding curriculum is well geared to meeting pupils' needs. It provides a wide range of stimulating experiences, from the imaginative outdoor areas for younger children to the excellent variety of clubs and after school activities for pupils throughout school, which enrich their experience of the world. Many well planned opportunities contribute to pupils' outstanding spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Pupils are given outstanding care, guidance and support. Very robust arrangements are in place to ensure their safety and well-being. Pupils are set challenging targets, which they know and understand. They are well supported in looking critically at their own work and are guided effectively on how to make it better. There are excellent systems in place to identify and support vulnerable pupils and those with learning difficulties or disabilities and, as a result, they make good progress.
Leadership and management are good. The headteacher has a clear vision of the school as a caring, learning community. The creation of a strong leadership team contributes to a powerful sense of shared purpose amongst staff and governors. Although the school has an excellent understanding of its strengths and areas for development, when checking on teaching and learning it has not placed sufficient emphasis on pupil outcomes and this has contributed to some inconsistencies in the quality of teaching and learning. However, the school's many successes, its history of continuous improvement and the strong commitment of leadership and staff indicate that it has an outstanding capacity to improve further. The school has outstanding partnerships with other schools and agencies, for example, with local clubs through their use of the 'Multi-games' facility. It provides good value for money.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
From an exceptionally low starting point on entry, especially in communication, language and literacy, children's achievement is outstanding. This is because of outstanding teaching quality in all classes and extremely good leadership and management. Staff are skilful at promoting children's language, so children learn to use new vocabulary quickly and accurately. Excellent adult support ensures that children learn to play, respond to new stimuli and ask questions as they become curious about their world and want to discover things for themselves. By the end of Reception the proportion reaching expected levels has increased significantly, with over a third meeting or exceeding the goals expected of them. Although attainment is still well below that expected nationally, children are well prepared for the next stage of their education for they have become willing learners.
Children have a lot of fun because staff devise imaginative activities which completely absorb them, such as stealing treasure from a pirate ship or making dens using different materials. The systems to assess children's progress are outstanding because they are simple to manage and highly effective. The impressive ratio of adults to children ensures that individual needs are fully catered for. As a result, children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities or those new to learning English make excellent progress. Children's welfare is promoted exceptionally well and is reflected in their outstanding personal development.
What the school should do to improve further
- Ensure that work planned for pupils in Years 3 to 6 meets their needs more accurately.
- Ensure that when checking on the quality of teaching, sufficient emphasis is placed on its impact on learning, particularly how well pupils are making progress.
Achievement and standards
Pupils enter Year 1 with levels of attainment that are well below average. As a result of some excellent teaching and generous provision of skilled teaching assistants, they make outstanding progress in Years 1 to 2. At the end of Year 2, standards in reading, writing and mathematics are broadly average. While the progress made by pupils from Year 2 to Year 6 has been improving year-on-year, the high levels of progress made lower down the school have not been maintained. In part, this reflects the turbulence caused by higher than average numbers of pupils entering and leaving the school during the school year. It also reflects some inconsistencies in teaching in Years 3 to 6, which the school is working successfully to address. At the end of Year 6, pupils attain average standards in English, mathematics and science. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and those in the early stages of learning English receive good support and, as a result, make good progress. Given pupils' starting points, their achievement is good.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils understand the difference between right and wrong and manage their personal relationships in school well. The many opportunities offered by the school to experience other cultures help pupils to appreciate and value the differences between themselves and others. Pupils are extremely positive about their school and say, 'Everyone likes this school.' Attendance is now broadly in line with national levels and many pupils participate in out of school clubs, including homework clubs. Pupils enjoy lessons and are keen to learn. Relationships with staff are very strong and, because they feel valued, pupils grow in confidence and self-esteem. Behaviour throughout the school is excellent, both in classrooms and around the corridors and playgrounds. Pupils know how to keep safe and they play together well and are polite and supportive of each other. Pupils know about leading a healthy lifestyle and they understand about making 'healthy choices'. They are keen to take responsibility and help others, as playground leaders and buddies. The school council plays a very active part in school life and more widely in the Edlington Young People's committee. Pupils are well prepared for their move to secondary school and are confident about their future.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning ranges from satisfactory to outstanding and is good overall. Lessons judged outstanding were characterised by their pace and the inventive use of a wide range of teaching strategies. Teachers successfully plan work that is interesting and, as a result, pupils enjoy learning. Good relationships between staff and children underpin the excellent behaviour in classes. Teachers make good use of questioning to gauge what pupils understand and to extend pupils' learning, Collaboration between pupils, such as working in pairs and groups, is well used to extend pupils' social skills and promote learning. Teachers carefully explain what pupils are expected to learn in lessons and effectively involve pupils in judging for themselves how well they are doing. Pupils are set challenging targets, which reflect teachers' high expectations of what pupils should be able to attain. However, although teachers are increasingly skilful at knowing what pupils understand and can do, they do not consistently plan work that meets pupils' needs accurately. Teaching assistants are skilful and contribute very effectively to pupils' learning, particularly those pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum is rich and varied and very well judged to meet the needs of pupils in school. There is a strong focus on English and mathematics, but this is not at the expense of the wider curriculum, which is wide ranging and employs well established links between subjects. Information and communication technology is well used to promote learning in all subjects. Learning is brought alive by visits to local places of interest and enriched by opportunities to make music and participate in sport. Pupils learn about a different country each half term, experiencing its music, culture, interesting features and food. Pupils are taught French, and those in the Foundation Stage experience German. The outstanding range of extra-curricular activities is popular with pupils of all ages and welcomed by parents. Opportunities to develop citizenship and promote personal development are plentiful. All year groups are linked to the world of work, through excellent partnerships with local businesses and community groups.
Care, guidance and support
Pupils and their parents value highly the outstanding care and pastoral support offered by the school. Pupils feel safe and are confident that there is someone to turn to if they have a problem. The school provides pupils with many opportunities to learn how to stay safe, for example, theatre visits related to safety and the environment. Road safety provision in the Foundation Stage resulted in the school receiving national recognition. There is strong support for parents to enable them to help their children at home. Very effective strategies are in place to raise the attendance of a minority of pupils, whose attendance is poor, for example, because of ill health. Pupils are very well supported in looking critically at their own work and are guided effectively on how to make it better. 'I can do statements' enable pupils to have a clear understanding of how to improve their own work. Rigorous procedures are in place to ensure their safety and well-being.
Leadership and management
The headteacher gives the school very strong leadership. She has a strong vision which recognises that if pupils are to do well academically the school needs to give strong support to their personal development and to the provision of a rich curriculum that extends their life experiences. In this the school is very successful and, as a result, pupils' achievement is good. The headteacher is well supported by able senior managers and subject leaders who are increasingly effective in raising standards in their areas of responsibility. Governors fulfil their roles well and governance is good. The senior leadership knows the school well. There are a range of effective strategies in place for checking on teaching and learning. However, when seeking to make improvements in teaching, the school does not place a strong enough emphasis on pupil outcomes and consequently has not fully eliminated some inconsistencies in the quality of teaching. The school has a very strong relationship with the local community and enjoys the overwhelming support of parents.