The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Pupils attending this average-sized school are drawn from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and locations across London. A very high proportion of pupils are from homes where English is not the first language. An average proportion of pupils have learning difficulties and disabilities. The take up of free school meals is average. Pupil mobility is high and staff turnover has been very high in the last two years. The school is based on a split site. Extended day provision, run by the youth service, is available all year round.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Holy Trinity Church of England School is a good school with a very strong family atmosphere and Christian ethos. Parents rightly feel that the staff are approachable, they enable their children to make good progress, and ensure they are very happy and well cared for. Typical comments from parents include: 'I have always found the headteacher and staff very approachable and supportive. The atmosphere in school is so warm and friendly', and, 'My child is always so excited to come to school and is so involved in his learning.'
Irrespective of whether children join the school for the first time in Nursery or at other times, they settle quickly, form strong friendships and rapidly start learning. This is because of the school's good induction arrangements and because staff and pupils are so friendly and helpful. The school welcomes pupils from a wide range of backgrounds, including those who are not Christians. Staff and governors ensure that other faiths are recognised, catered for and celebrated. As one parent wrote, 'Although my children are Muslim, they have never felt left out.'
Pupils of different abilities and from different ethnic backgrounds progress well. Consequently standards have been rising. Although many pupils initially need help to learn English, by the end of Year 6 pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds are among the highest attaining groups. Problem-solving in mathematics, and the control aspect of information and communication technology (ICT), are weaker elements of pupils' attainments, which the school has begun to tackle.
Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. Staff encourage cooperation and collaboration and provide good role models for pupils. The broad curriculum and a good range of visits and cultural activities capture pupils' interests and promote enjoyment and participation in the local community. Pupils' good behaviour, excellent relationships and eagerness to learn, along with the good teaching, make a significant contribution to pupils' progress, and ensures that the school is a very harmonious community.
The school faces a number of challenges very positively, including restricted space and the current building works aimed at helping to alleviate the congestion. Staff work hard to ensure that although play space is very limited, all pupils have an opportunity to develop fitness, have a run-around and play games outdoors each day. Support staff provide excellent help in enabling the very complex arrangements for staggered breaks and lunchtimes to work well.
The school has experienced difficulties in retaining experienced teachers, due to the high cost of living in and travelling into Central London. A measure of the school's good leadership is that when almost all of the class teachers arrived new to the school just over a year ago, the headteacher and governors used this as an opportunity to restructure and strengthen the senior leadership team and therefore the overall leadership capacity. This restructuring has enabled the school to establish very effective systems to induct, support and develop new teachers quickly, thereby ensuring that pupils' progress and standards do not slip when teachers leave. The next priority for the school is to develop and train their less experienced teachers to take on middle leadership roles, so that they can they can contribute by leading whole school evaluation and developments.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Good provision and very effective links with parents enable children to quickly settle into the daily routines of school and make good progress. The strong focus on personal and social development and communication, language and literacy supports all children well. It develops the skills of a high proportion of children whose home language is not English, and helps all children learn to cooperate, gain confidence and develop good attitudes to learning. Teaching and learning are good. Staff provide a good balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities that enable children to learn to work together and develop independent learning skills. Children love school because activities inside and outdoors are planned well to interest and challenge them. At the current time, staff are working hard to overcome the restrictions to outdoor learning resulting from the building works.
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve pupils' skills in solving problems in mathematics and in control technology in ICT.
- Train less experienced teachers so that they can play a part in leading improvements.
Achievement and standards
Although there are some year-on-year variations that are typical of small schools, children's overall attainment on entry to Nursery is below that usually found. This is a result of some weaknesses in children's personal and social skills, and because many are at the early stages of learning English. Children in the Foundation Stage make good progress across all areas of learning and very good progress in communication language and literacy. The standards attained at the end of Reception have been rising. They were above average in 2007 across all areas of learning.
Pupils of all abilities and backgrounds, and the very high proportion who join the school during Years 1 to 6, continue to make good progress as they move through the school. They make particularly good progress in English. During the past four terms the pace of pupils' progress has accelerated and become more consistent across classes, as a result of improvements to monitoring progress and to the quality of teaching. Standards in English, mathematics, science and ICT at the end of Years 2 and 6 have been improving steadily in recent years and were broadly average in 2007. Evidence from pupils' current work shows that the trend of improvement is being maintained. There are still some weaknesses in pupils' problem solving skills in mathematics, and their use of control technology in ICT.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils really enjoy school and learning. As one remarked, 'School helps us to learn new things. We do hard work, get a good education and make new friends.' Racial harmony and relationships between pupils and with adults are outstanding. Consequently pupils feel safe and happy in school and feel confident to approach staff if they have any concerns or suggestions. Behaviour is good and in some lessons it is exemplary. Attendance remains below the national average, despite the school's valiant efforts to work with a small number of parents who fail to ensure that their children attend regularly. Pupils have a good understanding of healthy lifestyles through the school's emphasis on healthy eating and exercise. They make a good contribution to the school and ensuring it runs smoothly. For example older pupils support and play games with younger ones and take a lead in supporting charities. All pupils contribute to decision-making through the school council. Pupils' good basic skills progression, ability to work together amiably and their good levels of maturity means they are well prepared for secondary education by the time they leave.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Particular strengths in teaching lie in staff's behaviour management skills, classroom organisation, their excellent relationships with pupils and high expectations of them. Staff provide frequent opportunities for discussions and paired work. This means that all pupils are involved and engaged, have opportunities develop their speaking, clarify their thinking and share their ideas. Well-trained teaching assistants are very effectively deployed to support pupils' learning. All of this, combined with pupils' excellent attitudes to learning ensures that pupils work hard and learn well. Aspects of teaching that can be strengthened include the pace of delivery in a few lessons and staff's expectations about handwriting and presentation, which should be higher in some classes. Teachers make good use of assessments when planning lessons. They regularly review pupils' progress and set realistic and achievable learning targets for them. Marking is regular and developmental and in Year 6 is exemplary, providing pupils with excellent feedback on how to improve their work.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum for the youngest children ensures that work in Reception builds progressively on that in the Nursery. In Years 1 to 6 there is a strong focus on developing the basic skills and ensuring the curriculum caters well for pupils of different abilities, including those learning English or who have learning difficulties. A good a number of 'catch-up' programmes' and extension activities are also in place to support all pupils' needs, accelerate progress and raise standards further. Although the lack of space still poses some limitations on physical education and ICT provision, the school works well to alleviate this. For example staff use some local amenities for physical education and provides some small group ICT teaching. Teachers are beginning to plan work that links subjects together, though as yet such opportunities are not fully exploited. Very good use of visits, visitors and local amenities extend pupils' learning and promote their enjoyment, cultural development and appreciation of their own very diverse backgrounds and religions.
Care, guidance and support
Pupils' safety and well-being is given a high priority. Staff know pupils very well and respond to any concerns promptly. They make effective use of the very good links with external agencies to support vulnerable pupils and their families. Child protection procedures are firmly established and risk assessments are rigorous. Consequently parents are very confident that their children are safe and well cared for. Pupils' views are listened to and acted upon. Their efforts and achievements are rewarded, thereby raising pupils' self-esteem and motivation. Systems for tracking individual pupils' progress are good. Pupils know their targets for improvement and are supported well to achieve them.
Leadership and management
The headteacher is very well-respected by governors, staff, parents and pupils alike. She knows families very well, and has high expectations of pupils and staff. The committed and well-informed deputy headteacher and senior leadership team ably assist the headteacher in leading the school well. Together they effectively motivate staff and have sharpened the focus on raising attainment. Performance management, regular coaching, mentoring and demonstration lessons, supports teachers new to the school or the profession to develop their teaching. Results of monitoring and data analysis are used well to set future priorities, though these, and the criteria for measuring their success are not well documented in the school improvement plan. Leadership and management of the key areas of the Foundation Stage, provision for special educational needs and for pupils learning English are all good. Due to staff changes, there is a need to train new middle leaders to strengthen overall leadership capacity. The newly formed governing body is very enthusiastic and supportive of the school. Their understanding of its strengths and weaknesses and ability to challenge the school is developing well under the clear guidance of the chairperson.