Amended Report AddendumReport amended due to factual inaccuracy
The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Park Hill is an above average size school in the Moseley district of Birmingham. The vast majority of pupils are from minority ethnic groups, mainly of Pakistani backgrounds. The proportion of pupils who have home languages other than English is three times the national average and about one fifth of these are at an early stage of learning English. The number of pupils eligible for free school meals is over twice the national average and the number of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is close to the national average. The school has experienced higher than normal staff absence during the last year.
Overall effectiveness of the school
The school provides a good education for its pupils. Children enter the Foundation Stage with skills and abilities, which are well below expected levels. Having made good progress, they enter Year 1 with standards below the national average. They make good progress so that they leave Year 6 with standards in line with the national average. The standards at the end of Year 2 are closer to the average than when they joined Year 1, but are still below average. The only group of pupils who make less progress are those with poor attendance records.
The management structure has been revised to permit more shared responsibility. The effectiveness of this structure has not had time to show itself because long-term staff absences have meant a further modified structure has been introduced during the absence of key staff. Procedures to monitor and evaluate the quality of teaching and pupils' progress have not been adequately carried out because of additional teaching duties imposed on the school's leaders. For this reason, the leadership and management is currently only satisfactory. There has also been insufficient opportunity for the leadership team to have a measurable impact on standards, but they have demonstrated that the school has a satisfactory capacity to improve.
Teaching and learning are good but the management systems to monitor teaching have not been sufficiently rigorous to help teachers to improve their practice. The curriculum is good and reflects the cultural diversity of the community it serves. The academic guidance is limited because accurate and well-analysed assessment data is not available to help teachers identify the progress pupils make. Staff know pupils well. They establish good relationships with them to ensure that pupils have confidence to ask questions. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and those with English as an additional language are well supported in a caring environment.
Pupils' personal development is good. They enjoy school, feel safe and know they are well cared for. They take advantage of the sporting activities and healthy food available to them. Their positive attitudes and good behaviour result in a harmonious community where they all work and play well together. One parent said, 'the school is a fantastic place for children to learn'. Whilst parents are very supportive of the school, there are a small minority of parents who do not ensure their children attend regularly and punctually and, as a result, attendance is inadequate. Pupils make a good contribution to the school and the local community and, because standards when they leave are at national levels, they are satisfactorily equipped for the next stage of their education
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children enter the Nursery with attainment well below the expectations for their age and make good progress so that they leave Reception with just below expectations. In the Nursery, the good provision encourages children to instigate activities, show initiative and make decisions about engaging in the areas of learning they most enjoy. There is a good balance between children making purposeful choices about their activities and adults directing them. The curriculum ensures that all pupils can make similar progress. Both years in the Foundation Stage are fully inclusive to meet the diverse needs of the children. This includes very good support from bilingual adults. Teaching is good across the Foundation Stage, with supportive relationships, good deployment of staff and high quality care. Teachers recognise that communication, language and literacy is a weaker area of the children's capabilities, and generally teachers model language well. Many pupils nearly reach the early learning goals, particularly in personal, social and emotional development. However, they are not making adequate progress in developing listening and speaking skills and, too often, questioning by all members of staff is not sufficiently well considered to allow children time to think and the opportunity to express themselves. Management of the Foundation Stage is good.
What the school should do to improve further
- Regularly track all pupils' progress to enable school leaders to carry out effective data analysis to inform teaching and raise standards.
- Ensure regular and systematic monitoring of the quality of teaching so that leaders at all levels have a thorough understanding of the effectiveness of teaching strategies for continued school improvement.
- Raise attendance levels for all pupils.
Achievement and standards
Children's skills and knowledge are well below expected levels when they join the Nursery but, as a result of good progress made, reach below expected levels when they leave Reception. Although there are variations between cohorts of pupils, they always enter Year 1 with standards below the national average. Pupils in the current Year 6 are working at standards in line with the national average and have made good progress from Year 1 to Year 6. Progress, however, is not always the same in every year group. One reason for reduced progress was that the quality of teaching provided by supply teachers was of a lower quality than that of the school's teachers. As a consequence, the policy to cover absence was changed, with some of the school leaders moving back into teaching roles.
Personal development and well-being
The school operates as a harmonious community where pupils can enjoy their learning. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good in all elements, with pupils having good attitudes to learning and good relationships. They show respect and good manners in a culturally diverse environment. Behaviour is good and this enables all children to learn in a safe and happy context. Bullying and racial incidents are extremely rare but, if they occur, are dealt with effectively. Attendance is inadequate. Whilst many pupils have very good attendance, a small minority have significantly lower attendance. The vast majority of pupils with inadequate attendance are pupils who do not speak English as their first language or those of lower ability. These pupils enjoy being at school but their families do not meet their statutory obligations to ensure their children attend school regularly and on time.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching is always at least satisfactory and generally good. Teachers foster good relationships and treat pupils with care and respect. Many teachers ensure lessons have a good pace and they use effective strategies to guide pupils in becoming involved and in knowing how well they are learning and how they can improve. However, this is not consistent practice across the school. Classroom management is good, with lessons generally well planned to help pupils maintain concentration. This involves good use of interactive whiteboards and a good mix of group or individual activities and whole-class teaching. Teaching assistants, particularly bilingual speakers, provide good support for pupils whose first language is not English. Very good support is provided by Phase Leaders to improve the teaching of basic skills in literacy and numeracy. This effective strategy is having a positive impact upon pupils' learning, particularly in Years 5 and 6.
Curriculum and other activities
Careful thought has been given to redesigning the school's curriculum so that it has a strong creative element and is more suited to the pupils' needs. Topics are planned to link different subjects together and there are good opportunities to write and to use information and communication technology across subjects. There are good opportunities for pupils to initiate activities and explore their own interests, and this promotes their good enjoyment of learning. The school uses a flexible approach to the grouping of pupils in lessons depending on the needs of each year group.
Personal, social and health education is a key feature of the work of the school. Provision for pupils who need extra help with their learning is satisfactory. There is very good support for the 'Inspire' workshops, where pupils have planned opportunities to work alongside their families to produce games to play at home. There is a wide range of well-supported activities both during the long lunch break and after school.
Care, guidance and support
Procedures to ensure pupils are looked after are satisfactory. Staff know the pupils well and provide good pastoral care. Procedures to support vulnerable pupils are all in place, including appropriate links with external agencies. A strong feature of the school is the way it ensures that all pupils are able to be included in all activities. The academic guidance for all pupils is satisfactory. At present, the assessment systems are not fully embedded and are not used consistently in the classroom. Although there is much data available, it is not analysed in sufficient depth to provide information for targeted support. Tracking is insufficiently frequent. The use of targets to provide challenge and motivation for pupils is only embedded in the upper part of the school. Marking is developing well but pupils are not always required to follow up teachers' comments.
Leadership and management
All aspects of leadership are currently only satisfactory because the teaching demands on some leaders result in insufficient time for them to carry out their management duties. The long-term absence of the deputy headteacher also means that planned improvements in communication are not fully effective. Leaders who are new to their posts have a good range of skills, but there has been insufficient opportunity for them to fully exercise their roles. Governors fulfil their duties satisfactorily and provide suitable support and challenge. The leadership team, including the governors, have ensured that staff absences have not led to a deterioration in standards and progress within the school. They have not yet been successful in raising levels of attendance.