The inspection was carried out by two of Her Majesty's Inspectors and an Additional Inspector.
Description of the school
Hollydale is a larger than average sized primary school serving an inner city area. Levels of social and economic deprivation in the local area are high. The school population is ethnically diverse. Most pupils come from Black or other minority ethnic groups and the majority are of Black heritage. Just over one quarter of pupils speak English as an additional language and currently 15 are at an early stage of learning English. The proportion of students with learning difficulties and disabilities is above the national average. The number of pupils joining or leaving the school other than at the usual times is higher than average.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Hollydale is providing a satisfactory standard of education and some aspects of its work are good. The school is rightly proud of its inclusive ethos. Inspectors agree with the headteacher's strongly held view that 'all pupils have the right to learn'.
Pupils' personal development and well-being are strengths of the school. They feel safe in school and enjoy learning which means they attend regularly. However, punctuality is not as good as it could be because too many parents bring their children to school late. Pupils understand how important it is to have a healthy lifestyle. They enjoy taking part in sporting activities and make better choices about the food they eat. Pupils show a clear sense of community through their work on the school council and in raising money for local and national charities. Behaviour in lessons and around the school is good. The work of the learning mentor has been successful in boosting pupils' self-esteem and attitudes to learning. There are a few pupils who have difficulties in controlling their emotions, but the school has good procedures in place to deal with this and any incidents are dealt with consistently and firmly.
The curriculum is successful in aiming to give pupils the chance to be part of something they would not normally do. It is linked to pupils' own experiences and enhanced by special events such as theatre workshops, drumming and a wide range of clubs. Pupils with particular talents have opportunities to take part in special activities organised with other schools. The links with a school in Ghana are particularly good at bringing the geography curriculum to life. Pupils' awareness of diversity and different cultures is very well developed through events such as international evenings and the celebration of Black History Month. They speak proudly of how good they think the school is at welcoming children from other countries.
Each group of children is different, but usually when they first join the school their skills are well below those expected for their age. Almost all teaching is satisfactory and a significant number of lessons across the school are good. Teaching and learning have many positive features, but also some weaknesses. In some lessons the work is not matched closely enough to all pupils' needs, particularly the higher attainers. Opportunities for pupils to use their skills in writing, number and information and communication technology (ICT) in other subjects are limited. As a result, pupils make satisfactory progress during their time at school. However, standards are still too low at age seven, particularly in writing. The most recent tests show that although the number of pupils reaching the expected level in English at age 11 is close to the national average, the number of pupils leaving the school at the expected standard in mathematics is too low.
The headteacher and her leadership team provide clear and effective leadership and direction for the school. They have a realistic picture of the school's strengths and areas for development and are putting appropriate plans in place to raise standards and achievement. There is good capacity for further improvement.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
The Reception classes offer pupils a safe, colourful environment, using both the indoor and outside areas. The teachers carefully assess what children can do when they join the school and on an on-going basis so that they can plan activities to meet their needs. As a result, there is a strong emphasis on developing their speaking and listening and personal and social skills and, more recently, on early reading and writing skills. The range of activities also supports children to develop independence and to explore the world around them. Parents are encouraged to help their children learn, especially through the weekly session where they join children in literacy and numeracy activities. Children make satisfactory progress during the year, although this means their skills are still much lower than expected for their age when they move to the next class.
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve teaching and learning by ensuring that pupils have sufficient opportunities to develop and apply their literacy, mathematical and ICT skills in lessons and across all subjects.
- Strengthen the use of assessment to regularly review pupils' progress and accelerate progress to raise standards, particularly in writing at Key Stage 1 and mathematics at Key Stage 2.
- Raise the level of challenge for the higher attainers in lessons.
A small proportion of the schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory but which have areas of underperformance will receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.
Achievement and standards
Pupils' achievement during their time at school is satisfactory. When children first come to school at age four their attainment is well below that expected for their age. In some aspects such as personal and social development and communication, language and literacy skills it is very low.
Standards at the age of 11 had shown steady improvement since the last inspection and in 2006 they were close to the national average. However, in the most recent tests in 2007 standards fell and progress was not as good in some subjects as others. Most pupils made the expected rate of progress in English and the large majority reached the standards expected for their age. However, progress was weaker in mathematics and less than half reached expected standards. About two thirds reached the expected level in science. The number of pupils reaching the higher levels was also lower than expected. Appropriate plans are in place to improve mathematics and science lessons and to provide additional support for those pupils who need it. Progress in lessons is now satisfactory.
Pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities and those learning English as an additional language make satisfactory progress because their needs are carefully assessed, enabling them to receive the support that they need. However, the progress of the higher attaining pupils is not consistently as strong because they are not always sufficiently challenged in lessons.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils are confident and behave well. Their attitudes to learning are good and they work together well. Relationships between adults and children are a significant strength, as is pupils' cultural development. Pupils' spiritual, social and moral development is good. There is great pride in the local community and the pupils take part in a variety of community events such as local music festivals. Pupils show considerable commitment to the school council, recognising the opportunity 'to make our school a better place'. They feel safe and say there is virtually no bullying because of the 'playground buddies' and the various workshops or support groups they can join. Pupils show a good commitment to the healthy lifestyles agenda, with all pupils taking part in well-planned physical activities, including participating in sporting events with other schools. They have a range of opportunities to take responsibility, which will equip them for the future in their working life.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching is satisfactory with many good features throughout the school. In most lessons teachers plan carefully for different abilities, structure and pace the session to engage the pupils fully in their learning. The best lessons involve the pupils in all aspects of the lesson, through well-focused questions that encourage them to be confident in their responses and use correct vocabulary and the use of practical activities. Support staff and other adults are used well to support pupils' learning, particularly those with learning difficulties and disabilities and those for whom English is an additional language. As a result they also make satisfactory progress. The systems for tracking pupils' progress are improving and this ensures that in the better lessons the work is matched carefully to pupils' needs, although the level of challenge for the higher attainers is not always high enough. Following the success of additional support to improve standards in English for those pupils not making enough progress, similar programmes are now in use in mathematics. Provision for ICT has improved since the last inspection and most teachers are using interactive whiteboards to enhance their teaching.
Curriculum and other activities
The quality of the curriculum is good. It is broad and balanced and enhanced by a good range of enrichment activities. Special events, such as science weeks and gospel concerts, play an important part in developing pupils' enjoyment of learning. The curriculum links with the pupils' own experiences and the community they live in very well. For example, the school hosts a number of workshops for parents and pupils to develop a range of skills, such as literacy, music and ICT. The pupils speak enthusiastically about the wide range of clubs that are provided, and uptake is high. There is a strong focus on teaching basic skills. Where this happens through different subjects it helps to develop pupils' skills in reading, writing, mathematics and ICT. ICT is used to support learning in literacy; links in other subjects are developing as teachers gain confidence in using a range of programmes. Older pupils talk enthusiastically about the opportunity to spend time together on a residential trip in the summer term. The personal development of all pupils is greatly enhanced by the combination of the discrete teaching of personal, social and health education and its integration throughout the curriculum.
Care, guidance and support
Care, guidance and support are satisfactory with many good features. Pastoral care is good. Adults promote pupils' health, safety and welfare successfully. Arrangements for safeguarding pupils are robust and carefully monitored. Supervision is effective and pupils are confident that there is always an adult to support them. The school has good links with external agencies, ensuring that pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities are well-supported.
The guidance given to help improve pupils' learning is satisfactory with some good features. For example, marking is developing and helps pupils understand what they have done well and how they can improve. Targets are used to support pupils to know what they are aiming for and older pupils are developing confidence in discussing the progress they are making towards them. Across the school, systems for tracking pupils' progress are improving, so that underperformance is identified more quickly than previously. However, this is a recent development and does not yet include the youngest pupils. The school has begun to identify which pupils are making faster than expected progress and the steps they need to take to ensure these individuals are fully challenged.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are good. The headteacher and senior leaders have a clear focus on raising standards and promoting students' personal development. A number of recent appointments have strengthened middle leadership and increased the number of staff sharing this sense of common purpose and direction. These staff already play a significant role; for example, as phase leaders they take responsibility for working alongside colleagues to improve teaching and learning and regularly check the progress that pupils are making. The leadership team is accurate in its evaluation of what it does well and where it needs to improve and plans appropriate actions to address weaker areas. It has looked very carefully at the reasons for the fall in standards this year and has put in place good plans, particularly in mathematics and science to make sure this does not happen again. The majority of parents are supportive of the school and speak highly of the care and support for their child and the range of opportunities the school offers.
Governors fulfil their role well. They have a clear picture of the school and provide support and challenge to bring about improvement.