The inspection was carried out by one Additional Inspector.
The inspector evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following issues: pupils' achievement and standards; the quality of teaching and learning; pupils' personal development and well-being; and how well the school's leadership promotes care and high standards. Evidence was gathered from national published assessment data, the school's self-evaluation, assessment records, policies and minutes, observation of lessons, pupils' work, discussions with pupils, staff, the vice-chair of governors and foundation governor, and the questionnaires returned by parents. Other aspects of the school's work were not investigated in detail, but the inspector found no evidence to suggest that the school's own assessments in its self-evaluation form were not justified. These have been included, where appropriate, in the report.
Description of the school
This is a small school set in a village location. The vast majority of the pupils are of White British heritage. The proportion of pupils who are eligible for free school meals is below average and the numbers of pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities is average. The school has gained the Advanced Healthy Schools Award, Activemark Gold and Artsmark Gold awards and Investors in People and Investors in Pupils status.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is an outstanding school that provides the highest quality of care and education. Parents agree, they say, 'This school is simply amazing.' All staff and governors are totally united in creating a very secure foundation for pupils' outstanding personal and academic development. From entering the Reception class with below average skills, children make excellent progress through both Key Stage 1 and 2 to achieve above average standards by the end of Year 6. Pupils are exceptionally knowledgeable and well informed in mathematics, science and reading. Writing standards are broadly average and the school has accurately identified improving pupils' skills in story writing and extending their vocabulary as a priority. The continuous improvement to pupils' achievement and standards over recent years reflects the outstanding leadership and management and the relentless drive to improve standards.
Outstanding teaching and learning are based on exceptionally high expectations for every pupil. These are based on excellent knowledge of every pupil's individual needs. Lessons are very exciting and pupils really enjoy their learning. In a Year 2 lesson, pupils added to their understanding and application of life skills by weighing, peeling and preparing vegetables. They had dug these up from the school garden. Teachers, together with support staff, plan lessons very well so that they meet the needs of all pupils. Those pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities are supported extremely well and make outstanding progress. Pupils are included in the assessment of their learning and this ensures that they are aware of how they are doing in their work and what is needed to prepare them for the next steps in their learning. Pupils' progress is rigorously tracked and evaluated and effective action is taken if pupils are in danger of falling behind.
Excellent provision for information and communication technology (ICT) has improved pupils' skills in all other subjects, particularly in mathematics. Another example of the outstanding curriculum is the way in which teachers incorporate a creative approach to learning in a range of areas in English, mathematics and ICT lessons. Consequently, pupils are well-informed, for example, about current affairs, personal fitness, art and music. The very successful choir includes most of the older pupils who relish performance and enjoy advising members of the parents' choir.
Parents acknowledge that, 'There is a strong sense of community and our children have the confidence to achieve.' This reflects the pupils' outstanding personal development. Pupils' behaviour is exemplary and they are very welcoming and courteous. They make an outstanding contribution to their community through musical performances and enthusiastic fund-raising for the local hospice. In turn, representatives from the community are happy to work with the school. Local, elderly residents, for instance, visit school to speak about local history and teach pupils' how to play playground games from the past. Pupils are proud to represent their school on the school council, as school captains, sports and music captains and in responsible roles helping others such as 'Peer mediators' and play organisers. They choose to eat healthily and enjoy the many sporting opportunities that are available for them. Their excellent attitudes are based on adults' respect for them and the school's emphasis on care and tolerance towards all. Pupils thrive at Meanwood and attend well.
The school's outstanding headteacher promotes excellence in care and education for all. Excellent leadership and management ensure that pupils are safeguarded and that their care, guidance and support are outstanding. Pupils know how to keep safe and they are very well prepared for the future. Challenging targets are used very well to raise standards. Links with outside services such as educational psychologists, special educational needs specialists and local authority partners make an outstanding contribution to pupils' achievement and well-being. There have been some changes to the governing body in the last year and governors are committed to training in order to further develop their roles. They question the personal and academic development of pupils and regularly attend school both to support pupils and to check on the school's effectiveness. Based on a strong record of improvement since the previous inspection and the impact of its very effective self-evaluation, the school has outstanding capacity to improve further.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children in the Foundation Stage settle very quickly because of excellent provision for their personal development and welfare. Parents have many opportunities to come into the Reception class before their child joins the school so that they can help their child prepare for school life. Children make outstanding progress from their below average starting points because of excellent teaching and leadership. Consequently, by the time children leave Reception, many have exceeded the early learning goals for their age. Planning is exceptionally detailed and rigorous in order to excite children and to involve them in their learning. It incorporates the teaching of letter sounds and of number recognition into children's everyday activities. This has accelerated children's progress in writing and their knowledge of numbers. A secure foundation of care and commitment to every child's welfare ensures that children become much more independent, confident and self-reliant.
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve standards in writing, particularly story writing and use of vocabulary.