The inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors.
HMI evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated achievement and standards, personal development and well-being of pupils, the quality of provision and leadership and management. Evidence was gathered from the school's self-evaluation (SEF), national published assessment data, the school's own records, policies, observation of the school at work, discussions with staff and pupils, and the parents' questionnaires.
Description of the school
New End is a larger than average primary school situated in Hampstead. Pupils attending the school come from more than 10 wards across five local authorities. The school is located in a mixed socio-economic area, surrounded by mixed local authority housing and more affluent privately owned houses. The school population reflects this mix. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is higher than the national average. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities is slightly above the national average. The school population is ethnically diverse. A sizeable majority of pupils have English as an additional language. The headteacher has been in post since September 2007.
Overall effectiveness of the school
'Since starting school my child has always been eager to go, usually skipping all the way' a parent reported via the questionnaire. New End Primary is a good school where pupils are happy, settled and develop the confidence and personal skills to succeed when they move on. A positive atmosphere permeates the whole school and parents appreciate and value the way the school nurtures pupils and enables them to make good progress.
Achievement is good and standards at New End are above average. Senior leaders assess that when pupils join the school, their developmental levels are slightly better than those normally found in children of this age. Children make a good start and progress well because of good teaching and, by the end of the reception year, their skills and abilities are above those normally expected. Pupils' progress is satisfactory as they move through Key Stage 1. In 2007, pupils' test results at the end of Year 2 were above the national average in reading but slightly lower in writing and mathematics where the proportion of pupils attaining the higher levels was lower than average. There was no substantial difference in the performance of boys and girls.
By the end of Year 6, pupils make good progress and attain standards well above national averages. However, results in mathematics are not as high as English and science. To address this, the school is reviewing provision in mathematics. Attainment at the higher levels in English, mathematics and science is also well above national averages and has been for the past three years. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make progress in line with their peers.
Teaching is of good quality and ensures that all pupils achieve well. Good lessons are exemplified by well thought out resources and teaching activities which engage, enthuse and challenge all pupils. Teachers ask pertinent questions which are well targeted to support individuals. Teachers know their pupils well and lessons are planned so that pupils build effectively on previous learning. Where teaching is not as good, lessons at times lack pace and tasks do not challenge pupils, consequently progress in learning is only satisfactory. Throughout the school, teachers manage pupils well and relationships are good. Teaching assistants work well with groups of pupils who are learning English or who have learning difficulties, but in whole-class sessions their skills are sometimes under-used.
The curriculum is good. It is balanced and makes sure the pupils build on their learning as they move through the school. A particularly strong feature is the use the school makes of visits and visitors through the curriculum 'focus weeks'. For example, during this inspection, Year 5 pupils worked enthusiastically with a theatre group. These activities help pupils to develop their creative skills, and make a strong contribution to enriching their language skills. Across the school, teachers use interactive white boards (IWB) well to enhance the curriculum and heighten pupils' enjoyment of learning. Particularly noteworthy was the observation of nursery children engaged in naming and explaining the use of colours on an IWB. The curriculum provides good opportunities for pupils to enjoy physical exercise and promotes healthy lifestyles. The school is currently undergoing a review of how the curriculum is delivered in order to ensure a more cross-curricular approach.
Pupils' personal development is good. Pupils enjoy positive relationships with adults, which enable them to feel secure, raise their self-esteem and boost their learning. As a result, they are confident and articulate. They are attentive in lessons and keen to learn. Although the vast majority of pupils enjoy coming to school, attendance and punctuality are an ongoing focus for the school. Attendance for 2006-2007 was below national averages. However, there are early signs that this is improving. In addition, despite strenuous efforts by the school, many parents do not reinforce its high expectations of pupils arriving to school on time.
Care, guidance and support are good. The school has an accurate and consistent approach to assessment. Pupils' progress is regularly monitored and action is taken to tackle any underachievement. The establishment of a new assessment tool in summer 2007 has aided this. Marking, although carried out conscientiously, does not always show pupils how they can improve.
Overall, leadership and management are good. The new headteacher has secured the respect and trust of parents and pupils speedily. They appreciate her approachability, and commitment to improvement. Parents rightly feel that she considers the views of others and acts judiciously on these. In the very short time she has been at the school, together with the senior leadership team, a range of very pertinent issues for improvement have been identified and plans to address these set out. This is reflected in a parent's comment, 'The new headteacher is bringing a fresh drive for excellence, her influence is already apparent'. There is an effective and strongly motivated leadership team, which has a clear sense of direction and is focused on raising standards. Middle managers provide good leadership. The quality of teaching is monitored and strengths and weaknesses have been accurately identified. Steps are already being taken to support and develop practice further.
The school has thorough and effective systems with which it keeps its work under review. These include gathering the views of all members of the school community. As a result, it has an accurate view of the impact of its work. The leadership team has undertaken a thorough analysis of the achievement of all pupils and as a result put into place effective early intervention programmes targeted at identified underperforming pupils.
Governors fulfil their duties well and have a clear understanding of the school's strengths and areas for development. They are not complacent about the school's well-deserved reputation in the community and work hard to support it. There is good capacity for further improvement.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children settle well into the nursery class and enjoy a good range of provision across all six Foundation Stage areas of learning. Teaching is good, with a mix of activities led by adults and opportunities for children to make their own choices. Most children make good progress so that, by the time they leave the reception class, they achieve levels that are above those expected for their age and are well prepared for the next stage in their learning.
What the school should do to improve further
- Build on the existing good links with parents and outside agencies to improve the punctuality of pupils.
- Ensure that marking helps pupils to understand how they can improve their learning.