School etc

Molehill Copse Primary School Closed - for academy May 31, 2012

see new Molehill Copse Primary School

Molehill Copse Primary School
Hereford Road

phone: 01622 *** ***

headteacher: Mr John Pearson


school holidays: via Kent council

Primary — Community School

Education phase
Establishment type
Community School
Establishment #
Close date
May 31, 2012
Reason closed
For Academy
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 577701, Northing: 153158
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.25, Longitude: 0.54487
Accepting pupils
3—11 years old
Ofsted last inspection
Jan. 19, 2012
Region › Const. › Ward
South East › Faversham and Mid Kent › Shepway South
Urban > 10k - less sparse
SEN priorities
HI - Hearing Impairment

rooms to rent in Maidstone

Schools nearby

  1. Molehill Copse Primary School ME157ND (286 pupils)
  2. 0.2 miles Oak Trees Community School ME159AX
  3. 0.2 miles Oaks Academy ME159AX (153 pupils)
  4. 0.3 miles Senacre Technology College ME159DT
  5. 0.4 miles Shepway Junior School ME158DD
  6. 0.5 miles Shepway Infant School ME158DF
  7. 0.5 miles Greenfields Community Primary School ME158DF (356 pupils)
  8. 0.6 miles Senacre Wood Primary School ME158QQ (204 pupils)
  9. 0.6 miles Oldborough Manor Community School ME159QL
  10. 0.6 miles Five Acre Wood School ME159QL (218 pupils)
  11. 0.6 miles New Line Learning Academy ME159QL (587 pupils)
  12. 0.6 miles Tiger Primary School ME159QL (140 pupils)
  13. 0.7 miles Bell Wood Infant and Nursery School ME159JR
  14. 0.7 miles Bell Wood Community School ME159EZ
  15. 0.7 miles Bell Wood Community Primary School ME159EZ
  16. 0.7 miles Tree Tops Academy ME159EZ (234 pupils)
  17. 0.9 miles Park Way Primary School ME157AH (296 pupils)
  18. 0.9 miles Holy Family RC Primary School ME159PS (178 pupils)
  19. 0.9 miles Holy Family RC Primary School ME159PS
  20. 1.1 mile Loose Junior School ME159UW (367 pupils)
  21. 1.1 mile Loose Infant School ME159UW (270 pupils)
  22. 1.1 mile Loose Primary School ME159UW
  23. 1.2 mile South Borough Primary School ME156TL (239 pupils)
  24. 1.2 mile Madginford Primary School ME158LJ (270 pupils)

List of schools in Maidstone

Age group 4–11
Inspection date(s) 19–20 January 2012
Inspection number 379589

Molehill Copse Primary School

Inspection report

Unique reference number 118300
Local authority Kent
Inspect ion number 379589
Inspect ion dates 19–20 January 2012
Lead inspector Helen Hutchings

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school Primary
School category Community
Age range of pupils 4–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 288
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Eric Watts
Headteacher Lee Round
Date of previous school inspection 17–18 November 2010
School address Hereford Road
ME15 7ND
Telephone number 01622 751729
Fax number 01622 758016
Email address reveal email: head…
Inspection report: Molehill Copse Primary School, 19–20 January 2012 2 of 12

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Inspection team

Helen Hutchings Additional inspector
Carol Vant Additional inspector
Graham Saltmarsh Additional inspector

This inspection was carried out with two days' notice. The inspectors observed

different aspects of the school’s work, including 20 lessons involving 15 teachers.

Inspectors took account of the responses to the on-line questionnaire (Parent View)
in planning the inspection, and looked at documents including those relating to

safeguarding, pupils’ assessment information and pupils’ work. They held discussions

with members of the governing body, staff and groups of pupils, and analysed
questionnaires from 47 parents and carers, as well as others completed by a sample

of staff and pupils.

Information about the school

Most pupils in this larger than the average-sized primary school are from a White

British heritage, with an increasing number from other ethnic backgrounds, including
a few who speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils known
to be eligible for free school meals is high. The proportion of pupils who have
disabilities or special educational needs is well above that found nationally. All pupils
in the attached local authority unit for hearing-impaired children have a statement of
special educational needs. Currently, 13 pupils attend the unit, including four children
of pre-school age who attend on a part-time basis. The school makes provision for
the Early Years Foundation Stage in one large Reception class taught by three
teachers. A breakfast club is attended by around 30 children daily. The school holds
a number of national awards, including Healthy Schools award, Active Mark, and
Quality in Extended Services recognition. The school meets current floor standards.
An academy order has been granted for the school to become a sponsor-led
academy during 2012. When the school was inspected in 2010, it was judged to
require significant improvement.

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness 3
Achievement of pupils 3
Quality of teaching 3
Behaviour and safety of pupils 3
Leadership and management 3

Key findings

  • In accordance with section 13 (4) of the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty’s
    Chief Inspector is of the opinion that the school no longer requires significant
  • This is a satisfactory school which has improved well since its last inspection. Its
    nurturing ethos ensures that pupils feel very safe because they are cared for
    well. Pupils are positive about school life and say that it is more enjoyable than
  • Pupils’ attainment by Year 6 shows a three-year improvement trend and is now
    broadly average. Attainment in English has increased faster than in
    mathematics. Pupils’ progress across Key Stages 1 and 2, although satisfactory,
    is variable between year groups. Pupils gain a momentum in their learning as
    they move through the school, which is helping them to make up for earlier
  • Children get off to a good start in Reception Year, where they benefit from high
    levels of adult support. Occasionally, opportunities are missed to promote
    children’s vocabulary and speaking skills in Reception Year and in Key Stage 1
    and, consequently, skills in these areas are generally lower than in other
    aspects of their development.
  • Teaching is satisfactory; teachers use assessment information effectively to
    group pupils by ability so that work is generally matched to pupils’ needs.
    Sometimes, whole-class teaching is overly long, which reduces the time
    available for pupils to learn by doing things for themselves.
  • Pupils’ behaviour is satisfactory and improving because pupils are clear about
    the school’s expectations and they are motivated by the reward system.
    Attendance has improved well and is now broadly average.
  • The improvement since the last inspection is a result of leadership and
    management which has prioritised action for improvement accurately. A
    number of middle managers are new to their posts and are still developing their
    skills in analysing pupils’ performance data in order to plan the support pupils
    need to accelerate their progress.
    Schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory may receive a monitoring
    visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Raise attainment and accelerate pupils’ progress, particularly in mathematics,
    through improving the quality and consistency of teaching by:
    hastening the sharing of the most-effective practice more widely across
    the school
    making sure that pupils have time in lessons to develop their skills to work
    developing teachers’ subject knowledge in mathematics so that learning
    objectives identify precisely the small steps in learning to be achieved in
    each lesson
    taking more opportunities to promote pupils’ language and communication
    skills, particularly in the lower part of the school.
  • Develop middle managers’ skills further in analysing data and identifying
    strategies to accelerate pupils’ progress.

Main report

Achievement of pupils

Pupils make satisfactory progress from starting points in Reception Year which are
generally below and, for some, well below those expected for their age. This includes
pupils who have disabilities or special educational needs, those who speak English as
an additional language, and those who are taught in the unit for children with
hearing impairment. As a result of changed approaches to teaching English by
encouraging pupils to talk their ideas through before writing, attainment in English

has improved and is broadly average by the end of Year 6. Pupils’ attainment in

mathematics remains below average, but is improving quickly. The lessons observed
during the inspection show that pupils understood what they were learning and knew
how to relate this to what they needed to do to improve. For example, in Year 6
English lessons based on Oliver Twist, pupils progressed very well because they
worked collaboratively, discussing their ideas and making notes for themselves
before writing independently. Because marking is detailed and gives pupils clear
pointers for improvement, individuals were able to work on their personal targets,
alongside improving their skills of diary writing and capturing Oliver Twist’s emotions.
Pupils are encouraged to organise and present their work well so that they are
motivated by seeing their own progress and increasing achievements. In some
lessons, although provision is satisfactory, pupils do not make such rapid progress.
This happens particularly in mathematics lessons when whole-class teaching is
sometimes overly long and a few find it difficult to maintain their concentration. In
such lessons, pupils are not given enough time to work individually or in groups to
take their learning forward quickly from what they already know.
Children enjoy their learning in Reception Year and make good progress overall,
particularly in their social and emotional development. Consequently, by the time
they join Year 1, they are working closer to the expected levels for their age than
when they joined the school. The teaching of phonics (letters and sounds) is

impacting positively on children’s early literacy skills in Reception Year and Key Stage

1. While pupils’ attainment in reading is below average in Key Stage 1, good

progress through Key Stage 2 means that pupils’ attainment is average at the end of

Year 6. However, adults do not always strengthen pupils’ speaking skills well enough
when talking with them individually or in small groups by requiring pupils to talk in
detail about what they are doing. Frequent changes in staffing in some classes
resulted in pupils making uneven progress through the school in the past. Pupils
make faster progress towards the end of Key Stage 2, but, since the last inspection,
teachers and leaders are using assessment information more effectively to identify
and address underachievement at an earlier stage. The action taken means pupils’
progress is now accelerating, although this is not consistent across the school. Most
parents and carers indicate that their children make good progress.

Quality of teaching

Although much good teaching was observed during the inspection, it is judged to be
satisfactory over time. Although teachers are now honing their skills with some
success, good practice is not yet consistent throughout the school. This is especially
apparent in mathematics lessons, particularly where there is scope for the

development of teachers’ subject knowledge. For example, in some lessons, the work

is planned at a level which is too complex for the whole class and the learning
objective does not clearly identify the small steps to be achieved in the lesson.
Consequently, although pupils begin to master a new concept, they do not have
sufficient time to consolidate their understanding before moving on to something
new. The school is making increasingly effective use of group teaching involving
additional teachers, where tasks are matched closely to the needs of the group. This
is resulting in accelerated progress by identifying and closing gaps in pupils’
knowledge and understanding, or providing additional challenge for the more-able
pupils. In 2011, higher-attaining pupils made good progress in English from their
starting points in Year 3. Pupils gain greatly from the additional support they receive
from skilled teaching assistants. Teachers’ marking is regular and clearly identifies
how work can be improved. Pupils say that they find the requirement to respond to

teachers’ marking helpful because they test out their understanding quickly. Most

parents and carers indicate their belief that pupils are taught well.
Teachers use interactive whiteboards and computer software well to enliven and
illustrate learning. Sometimes, lessons are overly reliant on pupils listening to the
teacher and opportunities are missed to reinforce spelling and writing skills, for
example by ensuring that pupils understand unfamiliar words. In Reception Year,
children undertake a balanced range of indoor and outdoor and adult-led and child-
initiated activities. The themed curriculum in the rest of the school has developed
well since the last inspection so that learning is linked coherently across subjects.
This makes it relevant and enjoyable and gives pupils useful opportunities to use
their literacy and numeracy skills in different subjects. The curriculum supports
teachers in promoting pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development well
through a range of activities, including visits, visitors and extra-curricular clubs and
the links between different year groups, such as Year 6 pupils supporting younger
pupils to read.

Behaviour and safety of pupils

Pupils are clear about the school’s expectations of their behaviour, shared in the
‘Lighthouse Principles’, and most pupils subscribe to them willingly because they see

them as fair. Although a small minority of parents and carers indicate a concern
about disruption to learning in lessons, most pupils indicate that behaviour is good
for most of the time. In lessons, generally, pupils sustain their concentration levels
well so that little time is lost in managing their behaviour. However, a few pupils

need to be reminded of the school’s expectations and, occasionally, this slows the

pace of their learning. Pupils and their parents and carers are confident that pupils
are safe in the school. Pupils say that they feel safe, knowing that bullying is not
tolerated and that any inconsiderate behaviour is taken seriously by adults who help
to resolve issues. Pupils have a secure awareness of different forms of bullying and
the school’s records show that incidents of unacceptable behaviour have continued
to decline since the last inspection. Very effective strategies have been introduced to
reduce absence, including rewards to be redeemed in the ‘attendance shop’,
alongside much considerable hard work with parents and carers. As a result,
attendance has improved significantly and is now average.

Leadership and management

The headteacher, senior leaders, staff and the governing body share a sense of
purpose to bring about improvement. Staff morale is high because of the teamwork
developed within the new structure. The governing body has taken a strong strategic
lead in securing the school’s long-term viability by seeking out a sponsor to take the
school into academy status. The governing body asks challenging questions about
how well pupils are doing and has well-focused monitoring and evaluation
procedures through the work of the governor teams. The governing body ensures
that the school gives a high priority to ensuring that systems are in place to
safeguard pupils, including those relating to child protection.
The focus on the training and professional development of staff has improved the
quality of teaching and has been robust in addressing issues of underperformance.

The monitoring and evaluation of teaching has been led by senior leaders and, as

more good teaching develops, teachers are beginning to share their ideas more
widely, particularly within the phase teams. Nevertheless, leaders acknowledge the
need to hasten the dissemination of best practice in teaching. Most middle managers

are relatively new to their posts and are developing their skills to use the school’s
tracking data and to broaden their understanding of how to accelerate pupils’

progress more rapidly. As a result of focused action, the school has made significant
improvements since the last inspection, including in behaviour and attendance. The
most notable improvement is in pupils’ academic achievement across the curriculum
and particularly in English. Staff have an accurate understanding of the quality of the

school’s work, meaning that developments are targeted where they will have the

greatest impact, giving the school at least adequate capacity for improvement.
The curriculum meets the needs of all pupils and promotes spiritual, moral, social
and cultural development securely, giving pupils a sound basis for their secondary
education. The work undertaken to promote literacy has resulted in an approach
which pupils enjoy and this impacts satisfactorily on their achievement. The breakfast
club and the introduction of a wider range of extra-curricular activities complement

the strong focus on pupils’ personal development, enhancing their confidence and

respect for themselves and each other. Equality is promoted and there is no evidence
of any discrimination; the school’s ethos ensures that the needs of each pupil are
identified and that action is taken to promote individual well-being and achievement.


What inspection judgements mean

Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding These features are highly effective. An outstanding
school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs.
Grade 2 Good These are very positive features of a school. A school
that is good is serving its pupils well.
Grade 3 Satisfactory These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory
school is providing adequately for its pupils.
Grade 4 Inadequate These features are not of an acceptable standard. An
inadequate school needs to make significant
improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils.
Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it

Overall effectiveness of schools

Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)
Type of school Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Nursery schools 46 46 8 0
Primary schools 8 47 40 5
14 38 40 8
Special schools 28 48 20 4
Pupil referral
15 50 29 5
All schools 11 46 38 6

New school inspection arrangements have been introduced from 1 January 2012. This means that
inspectors make judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above are for the period 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2011 and represent
judgements that were made under the school inspection arrangements that were introduced on 1
September 2009. These data are consistent with the latest published official statistics about
maintained school inspection outcomes (see
The sample of schools inspected during 2010/11 was not representative of all schools nationally, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Primary schools include primary academy converters. Secondary schools include secondary academy
converters, sponsor-led academies and city technology colleges. Special schools include special
academy converters and non-maintained special schools.

Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100.

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their

learning and development taking account of their

Attainment: the standard of the pupils’ work shown by test and

examination results and in lessons.

Attendance: the regular attendance of pupils at school and in

lessons, taking into account the school’s efforts to

encourage good attendance.

Behaviour: how well pupils behave in lessons, with emphasis

on their attitude to learning. Pupils’ punctuality to

lessons and their conduct around the school.

Capacity to improve: the proven ability of the school to continue

improving based on its self-evaluation and what
the school has accomplished so far and on the
quality of its systems to maintain improvement.

Leadership and management: the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities,

not just the governors and headteacher, to
identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff
and running the school.

Learning: how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their

understanding, learn and practise skills and are
developing their competence as learners.

Overall effectiveness: inspectors form a judgement on a school’s overall

effectiveness based on the findings from their
inspection of the school.

Progress: the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and

over longer periods of time. It is often measured

by comparing the pupils’ attainment at the end of a

key stage with their attainment when they started.

Safety: how safe pupils are in school, including in lessons;

and their understanding of risks. Pupils’ freedom

from bullying and harassment. How well the school
promotes safety, for example e-learning.

23 January 2012
Dear Pupils

Inspection of Molehill Copse Primary School, Maidstone, ME15 7ND

Thank you for the warm welcome you gave us recently when we visited your school.
The headteacher and staff work hard to improve your school. You told us about how
the school has got better and how you enjoy the rewards which you can use to buy
things in the school shop. We have judged that Molehill Copse is a satisfactory
school, which means that some things are good, but some things need to be
improved. These are some of the things that the school does well.

  • Children get off to a good start in Reception Year and enjoy their new learning.
  • You feel safe and secure in school because staff look after you well and you get
    on well together.
  • You understand the importance of good behaviour and most of you try hard to
    follow the ‘Lighthouse Principles’.
  • Your attendance has improved well over the last year.
  • You try hard in lessons usually and you are improving quickly in English
    because you know your targets.
    However, you could do even better, particularly in mathematics. We have asked the
    headteacher and staff to do the following things.
  • Share with each other how you learn best and use these approaches more
  • Make sure that you have time in lessons to work more on your own or in small
  • Set up learning objectives in mathematics which help you to take your learning
    forward in smaller steps.
  • Give you more opportunities to develop your vocabulary and speaking skills.
    Your phase leaders will look at your progress and talk to your teacher about how you
    can make faster progress. Thank you again for your help. You can always help by
    paying full attention and working as hard as you can.
    Yours sincerely
    Helen Hutchings
    Lead inspector (on behalf of the inspection team)

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