School etc

Parkfields Middle School

Parkfields Middle School
Park Road

phone: 01525 872555

headteacher: Mr David Brandon-Bravo


school holidays: via Central Bedfordshire council

472 pupils aged 9—12y mixed gender
454 pupils capacity: 104% full

260 boys 55%


210 girls 44%


Last updated: June 19, 2014

Middle Deemed Secondary — Foundation School

Education phase
Middle Deemed Secondary
Establishment type
Foundation School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 500729, Northing: 229074
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.951, Longitude: -0.53574
Accepting pupils
9—13 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
June 27, 2012
Region › Const. › Ward
East of England › Mid Bedfordshire › Toddington
Town and Fringe - less sparse
Main specialism
Science (Operational)
SEN priorities
HI - Hearing Impairment
Free school meals %
Trust school
Is supported by a Trust
The Harlington Area Schools Trust
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Dunstable

Schools nearby

  1. 0.1 miles Toddington St George Lower School LU56AJ
  2. 0.1 miles Toddington St George Church of England School LU56AJ (336 pupils)
  3. 2.1 miles Harlington Lower School LU56PD
  4. 2.1 miles Harlington Lower School LU56PD (136 pupils)
  5. 2.3 miles Chalton Lower School LU49UJ (61 pupils)
  6. 2.4 miles Harlington Upper School LU56NX
  7. 2.4 miles Harlington Upper School LU56NX (1392 pupils)
  8. 2.5 miles Hockliffe Lower School LU79LL (65 pupils)
  9. 2.6 miles Eversholt Lower School MK179DU
  10. 2.6 miles Sundon Lower School LU33PQ
  11. 2.6 miles Thornhill Primary School LU55PE (186 pupils)
  12. 2.6 miles Eversholt Lower School MK179DU (79 pupils)
  13. 2.6 miles Sundon Lower School LU33PQ (71 pupils)
  14. 2.8 miles Westoning Lower School MK455JH (116 pupils)
  15. 2.8 miles Kings Houghton Middle School LU55PX
  16. 2.8 miles Houghton Regis Academy LU55PX (307 pupils)
  17. 2.9 miles Tithe Farm Primary School LU55JB (230 pupils)
  18. 2.9 miles Hillcrest School LU55PX
  19. 2.9 miles Brandreth Middle School LU55PX
  20. 2.9 miles Linmear Middle School LU55PX
  21. 3 miles Kingsland Community College LU55PY
  22. 3 miles Central Bedfordshire PRU LU55PY
  23. 3 miles Central Bedfordshire UTC LU55PY (105 pupils)
  24. 3 miles The Academy of Central Bedfordshire LU55PY (44 pupils)

List of schools in Dunstable

Age group 9–13
Inspection date(s) 27–28 June 2012
Inspection number 395484

Parkfields Middle School

Inspection report

Unique reference number 109662
Local authority Central Bedfordshire
Inspection number 395484
Inspection dates 27–28 June 2012
Lead inspector Keith Brown

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

Type of school Middle deemed secondary
School category Foundation
Age range of pupils 9–13
Gender of pupils Mixed
Nu mber of pupils on the school roll 467
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Paul Dickens
Headteacher David Brandon-Bravo
Date of previous school inspection 5 June 2008
School address Park Road
Telephone number 01525 872555
Fax number 01525 875967
Email address reveal email: park…

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Inspection team

Keith Brown Additional Inspector
Genevieve Usher Additional Inspector
Catherine Stormonth Additional Inspector

This inspection was carried out with two days’ notice. Inspectors observed 24 lessons
taught by 21 teachers, and made brief visits to three other lessons. They were
accompanied for part of the inspection by a sign language interpreter. A number of
lessons were observed jointly with members of the school’s senior leadership team.

Inspectors scrutinised pupils’ work and held meetings with groups of pupils,

members of the governing body, staff, a partner lower school headteacher and the

school’s local authority adviser. Inspectors took account of the responses to the on-

line questionnaire (Parent View) in planning the inspection. They observed the

school’s work, and looked at school documents, including policies and procedures

relating to the safeguarding of pupils, self-evaluation records and assessment
information. The inspectors analysed responses to questionnaires from staff, pupils
and 352 parents and carers.

Information about the school

This average-sized middle school serves Toddington and the surrounding villages.
Since the last inspection pupils have joined the school from a steadily increasing
number of lower schools. In September 2011, Year 5 pupils came from 15 different
lower schools. Parkfields Middle School is a member of the Harlington Area School
Trust, an education partnership.
The great majority of pupils are of White British heritage, with a very small number
at the early stages of learning English. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible
for free school meals is well below average. The proportion of pupils who are
supported at school action plus or have a statement of special educational needs is
average. Since 1 April 2012 the governing body, on behalf of the Harlington Area
School Trust, has managed a specially resourced provision on the school site for
pupils with special educational needs who are deaf. This currently provides for eight
pupils from across the local authority. The school specialises in science. It meets the

government’s current floor standard, which sets the minimum expectations for pupils’

attainment and progress. The school’s breakfast club is managed by the governing
body and was included in the inspection.
Among its awards the school has Sportsmark Gold, the International School Award
and National Healthy School Status.

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness 1
Achievement of pupils 1
Quality of teaching 1
Behaviour and safety of pupils 1
Leadership and management 1

Key findings

  • This is an outstanding school. It has improved since its last inspection, when it
    was also found to be outstanding. Pupils flourish in an environment that fosters
    their academic progress and broader social development exceptionally well.
  • All groups of pupils, including deaf pupils, make very rapid and sustained
    progress and achievement is excellent. Attainment in all subjects is consistently
    well above the levels expected nationally by the time pupils leave school. The
    outstanding curriculum makes a great contribution to the pupils’ academic
    success and their excellent spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
    This helps them to develop into mature, responsible and thoughtful young
    people. The school makes excellent use of its specialist science status to extend
    and enrich learning across all subject areas.
  • Teachers plan very interesting lessons and challenge pupils with high
    expectations. The pursuit of consistently outstanding teaching is increasingly
    being met because of the commitment and dedication of the staff. Teachers
    occasionally miss opportunities to stretch some pupils to be more creative in
    their learning.
  • Pupils’ outstanding behaviour contributes very well to the strong relationships
    and very positive atmosphere in the school. Pupils have excellent attitudes to
    learning, attend regularly and take full advantage of the wealth of opportunities
    on offer to them. They take a great pride in their school. Pupils are
    outstandingly well cared for and feel extremely safe.
  • Leadership and management are exceptionally strong. The headteacher and his
    senior team know the school’s strengths and development needs well and have
    guided its growth with well-focused and successful planning. Governors and the
    wider Harlington Area School Trust provide an ambitious and clear vision for the
    continuing success of the pupils.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Refine teaching in the small minority of lessons where it is less than outstanding
    by ensuring that there are more opportunities for pupils to deepen and stretch
    their learning by being more innovative and creative in their thinking.

Main report

Achievement of pupils

Pupils enter the school in Year 5 with a wide range of prior attainment, but it is
broadly average overall. Progress is rapid in Key Stage 2 and pupils in recent years
have achieved above average scores in English and mathematics in their Year 6
national tests. There was a dip in Key Stage 2 test scores in 2011. The work of pupils

currently in Year 6 and the school’s assessment records show that they are on track

to reach above average levels of attainment. In Years 7 and 8 pupils make
exceptional progress. By the end of Year 8, pupils’ attainment, based on secure
externally moderated teacher assessments, is well above average in English,
mathematics and science. The majority have already achieved the expected level of
attainment for pupils at the end of Year 9.
Pupils are extremely enthusiastic about their learning. In lessons they settle down to
their studies straight away and concentrate exceptionally well. Because tasks are so
engaging, pupils are determined to succeed. For example, in an outstanding Year 7
English lesson the teacher pitched a written task on Shakespeare’s


at a

demanding level, building on pupils’ knowledge of National Curriculum levels. Pupils

aspired willingly to higher levels and independently produced high-quality responses.
There is no significant difference in the progress made by different groups of pupils.
Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs are closing the gap on
pupils nationally. This is because their needs are identified early, work set is matched
closely to their ability levels, and teaching assistants are deployed very well to
support them by demonstrating skills precisely, teaching subject-specific vocabulary
and providing both challenge and encouragement. Teachers’ clear delivery enables
deaf pupils to lip-read and they are provided with many visual stimuli and helpful
The development of literacy skills across the curriculum is very strong. Pupils all have
a reading book and when they arrive to each class they quietly sit down and read
until the lesson starts. They read aloud accurately in class, fluently and with
expression, showing a very good understanding of the text. Pupils’ attainment in
reading is above average at the end of Year 6, and well above national expectations
by the time they leave Year 8. The very large majority of parents and carers who
returned questionnaires are very pleased with the progress that their children are
making at the school and agreed that their children’s needs are very well met.

Quality of teaching

The quality of teaching is consistently high and many examples of outstanding
teaching were observed. Teachers know their pupils very well, encourage them to
succeed and motivate them to participate fully in class. They use examples from
everyday life in lessons and these contribute very effectively to pupils’ spiritual,
moral, social and cultural development. Excellent planning of the curriculum supports
teaching very well and provides regular opportunities for teachers to support the
development of pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills in lessons and tutor group time.

Teachers make it clear that they have very high expectations for pupils’ behaviour,

effort, and the presentation of their work. They demonstrate excellent subject
knowledge which they use to set very clear learning objectives and to plan relevant
activities, including skilfully adapted work for disabled pupils and those who have
special educational needs. They pay very good attention to the needs of deaf pupils
through the use of specialist technology such as radio aids.
Teachers are particularly skilful at assessing how well pupils are grasping new ideas
and intervening at just the right time to clarify a misconception or provide another
example to reinforce a key message. For example, in an outstanding Year 6
mathematics lesson pupils worked on a range of carefully constructed tasks on
probability and variation. These were designed to help pupils to work out mutually

exclusive outcomes. The teacher’s questioning and use of practical examples and

analogies helped pupils to learn imaginatively and independently. It is typical of the

school’s aspirational approach that leaders have identified that staff occasionally miss

opportunities to fully stretch pupils in their thinking, and in such cases progress is
good rather than outstanding.
The marking of pupils’ work is exceptionally thorough. Teachers praise high-quality
work appropriately and provide clear guidance for improvement. Pupils assess their
own work accurately and maturely. Parents, carers and pupils express great
satisfaction with the quality of teaching at the school.

Behaviour and safety of pupils

Pupils, parents and carers, and staff say that the excellent behaviour seen during the
inspection is typical. Records of behavioural incidents, attendance and exclusions
fully support this view. Movement around school is very calm and orderly. Pupils
respond very well to the school’s strategies for managing behaviour. There is a high
level of respect for others, regardless of background or ability. A well-planned reward
system encourages positive attitudes and pupils value the ‘Praise Postcards’, ‘Toast

of the Week’ and ‘Head’s High Profilers’ awards. There are a few pupils whose

particular needs result in them exhibiting difficult behaviour at times. These pupils
are managed very well indeed and their progress in lessons improves. The school’s
clear anti-bullying policy is rigorously enforced. The many pupils inspectors spoke to
noted that any rare instances of bullying are addressed very promptly and effectively
by the school. Pupils show an excellent understanding of the different forms of
bullying, including prejudice-based bullying and cyber-bullying.

Pupils said they felt very safe and well cared for, and parents and carers agree.
Pupils have an excellent understanding about what constitutes unsafe situations and
talk confidently about how to keep safe and stay healthy. The school pays excellent

attention to pupils’ safety and the sensible conduct of pupils ensures the school

environment is well-ordered and safe. Pupils’ above-average attendance is being
sustained because of well-focused strategies to follow up any issues that arise. Pupils
are consistently punctual to lessons.

Leadership and management

The headteacher and his senior staff form a cohesive team with very high ambitions.
As an active member of the Harlington Area Schools Trust the senior leadership team
shares a vision, together with its school, college, business and university partners, of

providing a first class education for pupils aged 3–19 in the local area.

Senior leaders’ uncompromising pursuit of excellence is securely founded on rigorous

self-review and a determination to achieve equality of opportunity and the best
possible outcomes for every pupil. They have a close, common understanding of the
strengths and weaknesses of the school and a determination to achieve excellence in
every area, including leadership of the resource base for deaf pupils. This drive has
ensured that academic standards and pupils’ progress are outstanding. Plans are

evaluated and followed through rigorously. Senior leaders have an excellent

understanding of the strengths and professional development needs of teachers, and
a very effective system for managing performance. They are increasing the
opportunities for staff to improve their teaching by observing the existing best
practice of their colleagues.
Staff morale is very high and all staff work together outstandingly well. Data are
used exceptionally well to assess the performance of individual pupils, pupil groups,
curriculum areas and the whole school. Any underachievement is quickly spotted and
effective intervention strategies are put in place. The governing body provides
excellent strategic direction and challenge, and is involved fully and systematically in
evaluating school performance. It ensures that the robust arrangements for
safeguarding pupils meet statutory requirements.
The outstanding curriculum is exceptionally well matched to pupils’ needs. It is
central to securing pupils’ positive engagement and excellent achievement. Pupils say
they enjoy the regular themed days and subject-based initiatives. For example,
during the recent ‘Elizabethan’ day, pupils in mixed age groups learned a great deal
about the food, clothes, cosmetics, dances, currency and religion of the Tudor age.
The curriculum is supplemented by an outstanding range of art, dance, music and
sports activities, as well as by visitors and visits, which promote pupils’ spiritual,
moral, social and cultural development outstandingly well. The breakfast club, run by
the school each day, is organised and supervised efficiently and provides pupils with
a range of purposeful activities.


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 54 42 2 2
Primary schools 14 49 32 6
20 39 34 7
Special schools 33 45 20 3
Pupil referral
9 55 28 8
All schools 16 47 31 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 to 31 December 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.

Floor standards: the national minimum expectation of attainment

and progression measures.

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.

29 June 2012
Dear Pupils

Inspection of Parkfields Middle School, Dunstable, LU5 6AB

I would like to thank you for the very warm welcome you gave to the inspection
team when we inspected your school. I would also like to thank those who shared
their views with the team, including those of you who completed questionnaires.
The school is providing an outstanding education for you. The leadership and
management of the school are outstanding. Excellent teaching leads to you making
outstanding progress and reaching levels well above those expected for your age.
Your attendance rate is higher than in most middle schools. Well done and please
keep it up. Most of you behave exceptionally well in lessons and around the school.
You told us that you are happy and feel exceptionally safe at school. The curriculum
is excellent and you are gaining a wide range of skills that are preparing you very
well for upper school.
Your headteacher, staff and governors are determined for the school to become even
better. We have asked the teachers to make sure that all lessons stretch you and
help you to be more creative in your thinking and learning. You can help by
continuing to work hard, checking your work carefully and telling your teachers if you
need them to explain some of the work in more detail.
I wish you all well for the future.
Yours sincerely
Keith Brown
Lead inspector


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