The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
The school is about the same size as most other primary schools. Most children are from White British backgrounds. The proportion of children entitled to free school meals is high, as is the proportion with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The proportion for whom English is an additional language is lower than average. The school has a learning centre for children with behaviour difficulties that serves the wider area.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a good school with some outstanding features. Children's personal development is outstanding. They take pride in their work and have excellent relationships with each other and their teachers. Their behaviour is exemplary. They are given the opportunity to take responsibility and treat this seriously. Care, guidance and support are outstanding and, as a result, children become confident and eager learners who thoroughly enjoy their education and who are able to make the right choices about healthy living. Attendance, however, remains below average, although the school does all it can to improve it. As they get older, children increasingly understand the importance of getting to school regularly and on time.
Good teaching ensures that all children achieve well. Children enter the school with standards that are very much lower than average, particularly in personal and social skills. Because of good teaching in Nursery and Reception classes children make good progress, particularly in their personal development and in learning how to learn. Children therefore have a firm foundation for learning. By the age of 11 children achieve standards which are below average in English, mathematics and science. This represents good achievement in relation to their starting points. Results in National Curriculum tests have improved steadily over the last three years and standards in reading and mathematics are now close to the national average. Although the school recognises the importance of developing children's speaking and listening skills, children are not given sufficient opportunities to do this. Similarly, opportunities for older children to write independently and at length are insufficient. These are minor weaknesses in what is otherwise a good curriculum. All children show enjoyment, pride in their work and high levels of concentration. The school has effective systems to monitor children's progress and to set targets, but pupils are not well enough involved in the assessment process. Consequently, opportunities to support their progress are missed.
The school provides good value for money. Good leadership and management lead to the school having a clear understanding of its effectiveness and of the way forward. Teachers at all levels work very effectively in teams to plan activities. Through doing this they not only support each other very well but also provide excellent role models for children. There has been good improvement since the last inspection. The capacity to improve further is good.
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve opportunities for children to develop their speaking and listening and to practise extended writing.
- Develop the everyday use of assessment to involve children more effectively in recognising and planning their own progress.
Achievement and standards
Children join Nursery with skills that are very low for their age. They make good progress through the Nursery and Reception classes, particularly in developing their personal, social and communication skills. As a result, they are well prepared for the next stage of their education. Nonetheless, the majority are still working towards their learning goals, and standards are still well below average, when they start Year 1. In national tests at the end of Year 6 standards are below average in English and science but are close to average in mathematics. In English, boys' performance in Years 3 to 6 is better than that of girls, but all make good progress overall. This good progress is the result of the emphasis the school places upon developing children's understanding of how to learn and children's enthusiasm for it in the early years. The school is taking determined action to improve standards in reading and this is already having a positive impact both upon standards and upon children's attitudes towards reading. Children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and looked-after children make the same good progress as the other children.
Personal development and well-being
Children's outstanding personal development and well-being is a major strength of the school. Many start in Nursery with poorly developed social skills but make excellent progress to become increasingly able to get on with each other, self-confident, eager and able to learn. This helps children to achieve well. Children very much enjoy school and this comes out strongly in their excellent behaviour in lessons. This includes pupils from the learning centre, who with expert support, behave equally well. Pupils feel safe and free to learn without hindrance of bullying or other oppressive behaviour. Attendance improves as children get older because of the support they receive from the school. However, despite the school's efforts, attendance rates remain stubbornly below average. Relationships, a minor concern at the previous inspection, are excellent and are a key factor in enabling children to achieve. Children have a good understanding of how to be healthy and to stay safe. They make an excellent contribution to the community. For example, the school council is proud of its influence in increasing the amount of practical activities in every lesson. Children also willingly take responsibility as house and sports captains. Children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is excellent. They are well prepared for the next stages of their education through their outstanding personal development and good achievement.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Children make good progress and display outstanding attitudes to their work. This is a result of effective teaching and excellent relationships with their teachers. Children rapidly understand new ideas as a result of teachers' good planning, clear presentations and effective questioning. Both teachers and teaching assistants work together very effectively as teams to provide a good level of support and challenge for children. As a result, children respond very positively and enjoy the challenges set for them. Children make the best progress when they are given the opportunity to explore and rehearse their ideas informally, and respond enthusiastically to problem-solving activities. Resources and activities are well matched to children's interests and abilities, regularly involving them in group work and in investigating ideas for themselves. Whole-class sessions during lessons are used well to check and reinforce learning. Teachers' marking is thorough and designed to encourage and inform children about how they can improve their work. However, children are not always involved enough in evaluating and planning their own progress.
Curriculum and other activities
The good curriculum meets the needs of all children well, including their understanding of how to be healthy and safe. The strong emphasis on developing children's social, speaking and listening skills in the Nursery and Reception classes effectively helps them to become cooperative and willing learners. The school recognises the need to concentrate on developing children's speaking and listening skills, but in some lessons, there are too few opportunities to do so. Older children have a good understanding about what makes a good piece of writing. They have too few opportunities, however, to write at length themselves. A very good range of visitors adds enjoyment and value to the curriculum and fosters safety and healthy lifestyles. Further enrichment comes from a good range of activities outside lesson times for all ages of children. A particular strength of these lies in the opportunities to take part in residential visits which encourage children's social development.
Care, guidance and support
The school's success in helping all children to thrive, learn and overcome obstacles to learning is outstanding, including for those in the learning centre. The school keeps detailed records of children's progress and of their personal development. This information provides staff with detailed knowledge of the interests and aspirations of each pupil and allows them to create and build on excellent relationships. Teachers use this information very well to plan work and set targets for further improvement. Children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are supported very well so they make as good progress as their classmates. The school works very hard to ensure that all children get the most out of their time at school and to overcome their barriers to learning. Children's welfare is of paramount importance to the school and it works tirelessly with an extensive range of partners to meet all children's' needs. For example, a medical team comprising the school nurse, the school doctor and a doctor specialising in children meets regularly to discuss the progress and needs of certain children in school. Safeguarding requirements are met.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are good. The senior leadership team gives very clear direction. The school works effectively with parents and carers and very effectively with outside agencies to help all children to succeed. An innovative management system involves all staff working together in teams to plan, monitor and evaluate their work. Joint planning and team teaching is proving very successful in spreading good practice and in pooling resources to better meet children's needs. This is already having a positive impact in raising standards for all children. The school has an effective system for monitoring children's progress and setting appropriate targets. Resources are used efficiently and effectively. Governors are very supportive of the school and have a good understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. They offer a good level of challenge and support.