The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Godwin is a large, oversubscribed primary school. Pupils come from homes that are more disadvantaged than usually found. The proportions of pupils with learning difficulties and who join the school at unusual times are a little higher than in most schools. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is above average and increasing. The school has a 12-place Nursery Additional Resource Provision (NARP). It caters for autistic children in the morning and children with other difficulties in the afternoon. The school has Investors in People and Healthy Schools status.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Godwin Primary School is good and improving. Pupils attain average standards by the end of Year 6 from low starting points. This good achievement is acknowledged through the accolade of being one of the top 100 schools nationally for improvement over the last three years. It is the result of good leadership and teaching and the concerted efforts of the whole staff. Pupils also develop well socially. Consequently, they are proud of their school. Parents are overwhelmingly very appreciative of the school's efforts. One parent summed this up and wrote, `I couldn't recommend a better school. I make the hour's walk to school...everyday without regret.'
Children get off to a satisfactory start in the Foundation Stage but enter Year 1 with standards that are still below average. Pupils make good progress in mathematics throughout the school. This is because the teaching of this subject has improved significantly in the last year. This has been accomplished with the support of the local authority through an improved focus on monitoring and using targets for pupils to raise expectations. In 2007, an analysis of the Year 6 test results showed that these pupils made very rapid progress in Key Stage 2 in mathematics. Progress in English, although always satisfactory, is more uneven. In 2007, standards in reading and writing were lower at Key Stage 1 than in mathematics and below average at Key Stage 2. This was mainly because pupils, particularly more able ones, did less well in writing than they should have. The school has reacted robustly and progress in English has accelerated further. However, there is still too little challenge for more able pupils in some English lessons and in other subjects too.
There are some outstanding aspects to the curriculum. These include excellent opportunities for drama, dance and music. The school has a deserved reputation for promoting creative arts activities. It has forged very good links with a range of organisations including the Royal Ballet. Pupils also excel in sport and most adopt very healthy living styles. The rich range of activities on offer contributes significantly to the pupils' considerable enjoyment and to their good personal development. There is a caring ethos that fosters very good relationships. It is a very welcoming and friendly place for those who join at unusual times. Behaviour is good in classes and around the school. This is because there are clear rules that are consistently applied by all staff. Consequently, pupils feel safe and work together well. The combination of good personal attributes, good computer skills and improving numeracy and literacy skills means that pupils are prepared well for transferring to secondary school.
The school has improved procedures for tracking the progress of pupils and they are effective for most pupils. This information is used well to identify those who are not on course to attain the nationally expected standard at a given age. They are then given support and challenge and this underpins their good progress. The analysis does not guarantee that underperformance by more able pupils or other groups of pupils will always be identified. This apart, leadership and management are effective in raising achievement and promoting high levels of care. Given its track record, the school has good capacity to improve.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children enter the Nursery with skills below those expected for their age. They are particularly low for language and mathematical skills. Provision this year has been hindered by the long-term absence of key members of staff. Nevertheless, through good teamwork teaching is satisfactory and children are making satisfactory progress. Children attending the NARP are included well, according to individual need. An appropriate emphasis is given to improving children's speech and language skills using a range of strategies including visual cues. Teacher-led activities are planned well. The school makes best use of the accommodation which does not allow easy access to the outside play area for children in Reception. The school's perception is that the children have made good progress in the Foundation Stage in previous years. This is not supported by the end-of-year assessments which appear to show standards well below average at the end of the stage. The school judge that this anomaly is because of some inaccurate assessments and is taking steps to address this apparent discrepancy.
What the school should do to improve further
- Ensure that assessments in the Foundation Stage are accurate and that there is consistently good teaching.
- Ensure that teachers provide challenging work for more able pupils, particularly in English.
- Ensure that data is used by senior managers to track effectively the progress of groups of pupils.
Achievement and standards
Following the previous inspection there was initially a dip in performance in 2004. Since then there has been rapid improvement at Key Stage 2 and slower improvement at Key Stage 1. This reflects a rise in standards across the main school and the school's monitoring shows this has been sustained. At Key Stage 1 standards were exceptionally low for several years but improved in 2007, although they remain below average. The progress made by pupils between the end of Years 2 and 6 has improved significantly and was amongst the best nationally in 2007. In this year the school obtained its best ever results. This is mostly explained by the marked improvements in mathematics results at both key stages but pupils also exhibit good investigative skills in science. Improvements in English results lag behind those for mathematics. Consequently, the school met all its targets except those for more able pupils in English. Pupils with learning difficulties make the same good progress as their classmates.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. It is developed well through assemblies, circle time and the curriculum. The school council members are good role models for other pupils. They take their role seriously. For instance, they have helped to organise themed weeks such as `green week'. Pupils collaborate well and help to make this a very harmonious community. Older pupils (the Godwin Playground Squad) support younger ones very well in the playground. This is valued by the pupils. As one pupil wrote in her poem,
`My school makes me happy,Puts a smile upon my face.In fact I couldn't pick A brighter better place.'
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teachers manage their classes well and lessons are conducted in a very orderly atmosphere. Pupils come to school ready to learn. They say that the teachers make many lessons fun and interesting. Teachers make effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) and its use adds to the clarity of their explanations. Lesson objectives are shared with the pupils so that they are clear what they are expected to learn. Marking is also good and gives feedback on how pupils might improve further. Teachers vary in their effectiveness to match work to the different abilities. Pupils with learning difficulties receive good support from well-qualified teaching assistants. However, the work set for the more able pupils is not always challenging enough.
Curriculum and other activities
Provision for personal and social education is good and contributes significantly to pupils' good personal development. The school is constantly seeking to improve the curriculum for numeracy and literacy. It is participating in a project to improve the ability of pupils to link sounds to letters and so to read better. Staff are currently being trained to implement a new approach to developing pupils' writing. ICT is used well to develop pupils' skills in other subjects. The curriculum is enriched by a wide range of visits and visitors. The borough community dance groups originated in the school. Pupils greatly appreciate the very wide range of out-of-school activities and they are oversubscribed.
Care, guidance and support
There is a caring ethos in the school and pupils say that teachers are friendly and support them well. Support for pupils with learning difficulties is managed well. Children in the NARP are cared for well. There are very effective links with a range of other agencies to successfully integrate services for education and care. This contributes significantly to pupils feeling valued and enables them all to play a full part in school life. Attendance is average despite the school's strenuous efforts to improve it. Pupils who join during a key stage settle well. However, the school has not evaluated how well this group of pupils do over time. Pupils have a very good understanding of their targets in mathematics and this helps them to improve. Similar techniques are being developed to raise achievement in English.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are effective in raising standards and establishing high levels of care. The school has been helped to do this in mathematics by participating in the local authority's support programme. This year, the school is taking over the lead for this initiative and the local authority support has reduced. Middle managers have been trained well and are effective. Consequently, pupils achieve well in many creative subjects as well as in mathematics. The monitoring of teaching has led to improvements but the written records do not give sufficient emphasis to checking pupils' progress in lessons. Support for pupils with English as an additional language is managed well. There is appropriate training, consistent implementation of agreed strategies in the classroom and the good development of visual resources across the school. Data is not analysed sufficiently rigorously to chart the acquisition of language skills and progress in their subjects. This means that the school cannot be sure that resources are allocated as effectively as they might be. Governors are supportive of the school. They have recently received training in order to strengthen their 'critical friend' role.