The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Farnborough Primary is situated at the heart of the village community. The numbers on roll are declining in this small school. The number of pupils in each year group is small, and the proportion of pupils identified as having learning difficulties and/or disabilities is greater than that found nationally. As a result, there are large fluctuations in standards from year to year. The vast majority of its pupils are of White British heritage. There is a wide range of abilities when children start in the Reception class but language skills and aspects of mathematical development are usually below those expected. The school has successfully achieved the Healthy School Award and a Sports Mark Award.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Farmborough Church of England Primary is a good school that provides well for its pupils' academic progress and their personal development. Pupils are given good levels of care and support and they consequently feel safe, secure and are developing in confidence and maturity. They have a good understanding of how to develop a healthy lifestyle and make positive choices about what they eat and about exercise. Pupils respond very well to opportunities to take responsibility and show good levels of initiative. Their contribution to the life of the school and to the community is excellent. Most pupils behave well in class and around the school. There is a small group of pupils who are not as well behaved as the majority and although this is usually effectively managed, a small but significant number of parents do not have confidence in the school's methods or expectations.
Pupils of all abilities achieve well. This good progress starts in the Reception class where skilled teaching and high levels of support enable children to settle into school routines successfully and to enjoy their learning. Teaching is good throughout the school and teachers promote pupils' learning effectively. They make lessons fun and often link different aspects of learning together to make activities more meaningful and enjoyable. Pupils are given a clear understanding of how well they are doing in their work and are developing a good understanding of how to improve.
Standards in all classes fluctuate from year to year because of the small numbers. In Year 2, standards are usually broadly average. In Year 6, national test results have ranged from extremely high in one year to well below average in another because of the fluctuating number of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Currently, standards are stronger than in 2007 and pupils in Year 6 are on track to reach above average standards. English is the strongest subject and progress is good throughout the school. Progress in mathematics is satisfactory because less attention has been given to promoting pupils' mathematics knowledge and skills than to those in reading and writing. The curriculum meets pupils' needs well. It is not as strong in mathematics. The range of additional activities and after school clubs is good and enriches pupils' learning very well. Standards and progress in information and communication technology (ICT) are good and pupils use their skills well to support learning in other subjects.
Leadership and management are good and have led to many improvements since the last inspection. There are comprehensive systems for checking on pupils' progress and identifying when pupils need additional support to achieve well. The school keeps parents well informed about current events and pupils' achievements. The staff work together as a strong team and parents recognise their dedication and care. The views of parents are sought on a wide range of matters, but a small but significant number of parents do not feel that the school takes these views sufficiently into account. Based on the many successful initiatives already in place, the school's capacity for further improvement is good.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
The provision for children in the Reception class is good. There are successful links with the pre-school group now situated within the school and children settle into school routines really well. The staff have a good understanding of the needs of these young children and they are given almost individual attention thanks to the good number of adults usually in the class. As a result, children make good progress, especially in language skills, and many children reach the standards expected by the time they move into Year 1. The curriculum is well adapted to stimulate children's interests and curiosity. The classroom, conservatory and outside area are used well to promote the curriculum and to give opportunities to learn in a variety of ways. Adult led activities and opportunities to work independently on their self-chosen tasks all ensure children's good progress. Greater opportunities to choose from mathematical activities as part of their independent work, however, would give greater balance to children's tasks. Each step of their learning is monitored well. Leadership of the Foundation Stage is good and there are plans to further improve this already good provision.
What the school should do to improve further
- Raise pupils' achievement in mathematics to at least equal that in English and ICT.
- Build more effective links with parents to strengthen relationships so parents feel confident that the school takes their views into account.
Achievement and standards
Pupils achieve well from their various starting points. Attainment varies from year to year but the trend is towards above average standards by the end of Year 6. In 2007 standards declined, especially in English, but this was the consequence of a group of pupils with specific learning difficulties. Pupils in Year 6 are now on track to reach above average standards especially in reading and writing. Progress in mathematics is generally satisfactory and standards are average. The school has identified this relative weakness and has put additional support into the teaching of mathematics. Standards in science are also broadly average. The school has focused successfully on improving pupils' investigative skills, so standards and achievement in science are rising.
Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make good progress. They are given good levels of support that focus on their individual needs. Last year the school's targets for Year 6 were very aspirational and were not attained, especially by the more able pupils. The school has learnt from this mistake and, although targets are still challenging, they are more attainable. Pupils of all abilities are on track to reach the standards expected.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils enjoy school and are keen to learn. Pupils' attention and concentration in all the lessons observed were very good but pupils, teachers and parents recognise that there are a few pupils who do not behave as well as they should. Pupils' spiritual moral, social and cultural development is good. They get on well with each other and show care and empathy for others. The school's links with Zambia have extended pupils' knowledge of other cultures and ways of life. They are less well informed, however, about the cultural diversity of English society. Pupils respond very well to the opportunity to take responsibility. School councillors are proud of the positive changes they have made, especially in the planning of healthy and enjoyable lunches. Many pupils organise lunchtime clubs. Their participation in church and village events and the preparation of lunches for the village senior citizens are just a few examples of pupils' outstanding contribution to the community. Pupils' good personal development prepares them well for the next stage of learning and the world of work.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Lessons are well planned and build effectively on what has already been learnt. Teachers monitor pupils' learning well and use the information to set work for the next lesson. Activities therefore meet the needs of the wide range of abilities and ages in the class. Support for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is good. Their individual targets are reviewed regularly and activities to support their good progress are provided. The learning of more able pupils is extended effectively but sometimes it is this group that could benefit from greater challenge. Relationships in each class are good. Pupils respond well to their teachers and most concentrate well, especially when lessons move along briskly and are interesting. Some pupils are less attentive particularly when the pace of lessons slows. Computers and many forms of ICT are used well as teaching resources and to stimulate pupils' learning.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum makes a strong contribution to pupils' personal and health development. A strong focus on developing pupils' understanding of healthy lifestyles and awareness of how to keep safe has had a positive impact on pupils' attitudes. Links across many subjects are used to stimulate pupils' interest and motivation to learn. ICT in particular is used well to support pupils' learning, especially in research. Pupils' literacy skills are also promoted well in subjects such as history. Mathematical skills are less well developed in other subjects but improving as investigative skills in science are more effectively promoted. An extensive range of additional opportunities enriches the curriculum. There is a good range of school clubs in sport and other areas of interest. Good use is made of outside agencies, local schools and sports coaches to extend pupils' experiences and skills. A specialist music teacher and the opportunity to learn to play a variety of musical instruments also extend pupils' opportunities for developing their musical talents.
Care, guidance and support
Staff provide good levels of pastoral care for pupils, who consequently feel safe and know that adults will listen to their worries or concerns. Strategies to help them deal with friendship problems, disagreements and emotional upsets are raising pupils' confidence and maturity. Expectations for pupils' good behaviour have not been totally effective, but a new behaviour policy is now more successfully promoting pupils' positive attitudes. The school's procedures for reducing absence are effective. Attendance has consequently improved and is above average. The school works well with a variety of outside agencies to support pupils' welfare and development. Child protection procedures and those for health and safety are robust. Academic support and guidance are also good. Targets are set for the next stages of learning and are shared with pupils so they understand how well they are doing and how to improve their work. Support for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is successful. Pupils' individual targets are clear and regularly reviewed so they understand how to make good progress.
Leadership and management
The headteacher provides a clear direction for the school and is well supported by the deputy headteacher, staff and governors. They have developed a comprehensive system of evaluation and review, which is leading school improvement. The school's self-assessment is mostly accurate although targets in 2007 were too aspirational to be achievable. Subject coordinators are well supported and have a good awareness of standards, progress and teaching in their subjects. Governors are well informed and, with the headteacher, are proactive in seeking additional funds. With support of the parent association much has been accomplished in refurbishing the school building and in creating a stimulating learning environment. The budget is well managed and the future difficulties created by a falling roll are effectively planned for. There are good links with local schools that support the curriculum and cultural links. Most parents are very supportive and although the school strives to work closely with pupils' families, relationships with some parents have suffered because of a lack of mutual understanding.