The inspection was carried out by an Additional Inspector.
Description of the school
Feltham Junior School is larger than average. Pupils come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, with a large majority being of White British heritage. The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is above average, though relatively few are at the early stages of learning English. More pupils than usual have learning difficulties and disabilities, or have statements of special educational need. The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is above average. At the time of the inspection, the headteacher had been in post for five months, having previously been the school's deputy headteacher.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Feltham Junior School is a good school. It provides a good quality of education and has several outstanding features. High levels of care and support for pupils and a focus on the individual are central to all that the school does. This contributes to the pupils' outstanding personal development, including their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Pupils express pride in their school and show positive attitudes to learning. They participate enthusiastically in a wide range of sporting activities and greatly enjoy eating healthily at playtimes and lunchtimes. Pupils are very confident that they are safe in school and take very seriously their responsibilities as school councillors and peer supporters. Teachers make learning interesting and this stimulates pupils' enjoyment of learning and promotes their good achievement.
The school is going through a period of considerable staffing change and it is to the credit of the headteacher, ably supported by the teachers and governors, that the school's strengths have been maintained and other areas successfully developed, during this time. All levels of management work effectively together to promote school improvement. The school's analysis of its strengths and weaknesses is accurate, involves all staff, governors and parents and leads to effective action. As a consequence, the introduction of thinking skills and an initiative to improve boys' attitudes to writing have both led to improved standards. Such initiatives and significant improvements since the previous inspection, combined with a determination to improve the school, indicate that the school has outstanding capacity to improve.
Pupils' achievement is good and standards are above average. Good teaching enables pupils to make good progress through Years 3 to 6, so that by the end of Year 6, standards in English, mathematics and science are above average. English results are lower than those for mathematics and science, and the school has started to take action to improve standards in writing, by helping pupils to use more imaginative and interesting vocabulary. It is also working to increase the proportion of pupils who gain the higher Level 5 in reading. These initiatives are beginning to show positive results, but the school recognises that pupils could do even better in these areas.
A large majority of parents express appreciation for all that the school does. As one commented 'We are extremely happy with the school. It is a great place for kids to learn.' A few parents expressed concern about behaviour, but pupils are well aware of the school's procedures for rewards and sanctions and feel that if anyone is bullied or upset 'the teachers soon sort it out'. Behaviour is good.
An outstanding curriculum makes learning interesting for the pupils. They speak enthusiastically about problem-solving days and educational visits. A strong focus in the curriculum on personal, social, health and citizenship education (PSHCE) contributes significantly to the pupils' personal development.
What the school should do to improve further
- Raise standards and achievement in writing, with particular focus on increasing pupils' use of interesting and imaginative vocabulary
- Improve the reading skills of more able pupils
Achievement and standards
Pupils enter the school with broadly average standards. Teachers track closely the progress of both individual pupils and groups. This enables them to identify and intervene to provide extra support for pupils who make less progress than expected. This ensures that all pupils achieve well, including those with learning difficulties and disabilities and those who are learning English as an additional language. By the end of Year 6, standards in English, mathematics and science are above average. Writing, however, is weaker than reading, and is currently the focus of a whole school initiative. Strategies to increase boys' interest in writing have proved successful and have narrowed the gap to girls' achievement. The school is now focusing on improving the content of writing for both boys and girls. Analysis of data has shown a slight decline in the proportion of pupils attaining the higher Level 5 in reading. The school is currently putting in place strategies to increase this proportion.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils have a very comprehensive understanding of healthy lifestyles. They speak proudly of their participation in healthy eating and exercise in their school. They enjoy school and their attendance has improved, now being average. However, the significant number of pupils who take holidays during term time has an adverse effect on the school's attendance figures. Pupils very readily take on responsibilities, including running the daily fruit shop and advertising and running stalls at the summer fete. The school council is very effective and has been instrumental in the recently acquired sun umbrellas for the playground. Pupils feel very safe and secure in school. They speak very positively about their system of peer support and the 'listening box' and know who to turn to if they have a problem. The running of their own clubs, after first presenting the headteacher with a written proposal, and interviews for the roles of peer supporters, help them to gain essential skills for later life. The school's strong focus on basic skills prepares the pupils well for the future. Pupils care for and value each other. They have a strong sense of right and wrong and appreciate the opportunities they are given to discuss issues in their 'community of enquiry' sessions. They gain a good understanding of different cultures through the curriculum. Pupils said that they particularly enjoyed learning about and tasting food from different cultures, during a cultural food evening event for the whole school community.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning are good and contribute to the pupils' good achievement and excellent personal development. Teachers value pupils' attempts to answer questions, skilfully using incorrect answers as teaching points. This boosts pupils' self-esteem and gives them the confidence to take a chance with an answer. Pupils know that 'the teachers help us if we do not understand'. Teaching assistants support pupils effectively, especially those that have learning difficulties or disabilities. Records show that teaching ranges from satisfactory to outstanding lessons. In its efforts to raise pupils' achievement to outstanding, the school is working hard to make all teaching at least good. Teachers consistently share the purpose of the lesson with pupils. This helps them to know what they are expected to learn and to reflect on their progress at the end of the lesson. This process of self-evaluation is well established and greatly benefits pupils' learning. At the end of a mathematics lesson in Year 6, pupils readily assessed how well they understood the properties of triangles. The marking of pupils' work is very thorough and helps them to know what they have done well, as well as providing an opportunity for them to respond to development points.
Curriculum and other activities
The outstanding curriculum is broad and balanced and is enhanced very effectively by an excellent range of enrichment activities. Special events, such as arts weeks and problem solving days, which incorporate many subjects, greatly enrich provision and increase pupils' enjoyment of learning. They speak enthusiastically about the wide range of clubs that are provided, and uptake is high. This provision does much to encourage pupils to take exercise and to develop positive attitudes to school life. The school ensures that basic skills are taught through different subjects and this helps to develop pupils' skills in reading, writing, mathematics and information and communication technology (ICT). The use of thinking skills across all subjects is a routine part of the curriculum and contributes significantly to pupils' good achievement. Additional support for pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities enables them to enjoy a full curriculum. The learning of more able pupils is enriched through special activities in collaboration with other schools. The personal development of all pupils is greatly enhanced by the combination of the discrete teaching of PSHCE and its integration throughout the curriculum.
Care, guidance and support
The outstanding quality of care, guidance and support establishes an environment in which pupils feel greatly valued. Parents affirm this, saying that 'the teachers really care about the children'. The adults in school are sensitive to each pupil's personal and academic development. The school monitors carefully the uptake of extra-curricular clubs and ensures that all pupils have the opportunity to take part. All aspects of health and safety and child protection are well established and monitored closely. Liaison with outside agencies is very successful in supporting the well-being and development of all pupils. Pupils are well aware of their learning targets and understand how well they are doing. Support for pupils when they join the school, and when they prepare to move on to the next stage, is very comprehensive and well considered.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are good and contribute significantly to the good progress made by pupils. The headteacher has clear vision and determination to improve the school and this is reflected in the efforts of the staff and governors. Subject leaders are empowered to influence developments in their subjects, with the headteacher being aware that their involvement in monitoring standards is an area for further development. Governors fulfil their statutory responsibilities and have a good understanding of the school's strengths and weaknesses. They have been closely involved with the school's healthy eating programme. Governors provide the headteacher with a good balance of support and challenge. The monitoring of teaching, pupils' work and teachers' planning is frequent and rigorous and is leading to improvements in both teaching and pupils' achievement. The induction of new staff from September 2007 will be an area of key focus to ensure that standards are maintained.