This inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Parklee is a larger than average primary school which serves an area of mixed housing with higher levels of disadvantage than typical. Almost all pupils are of White British heritage. The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is below average. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is below average, but the proportion with a statement of special educational need is above average.
The school has received a number of national awards including the Activemark, Healthy School status and Investor in People status.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Parklee is a good school in which the personal development and well-being of pupils and the quality of care, support and guidance provided are outstanding. It is deservedly popular in the local community. Parents' comments include, 'My child loves school and is doing very well.' and 'The children are offered a wide variety of rich learning experiences.' which recognises the outstanding curriculum. Since the last inspection the school has made good progress and it has good capacity to continue to do so.
The school is well led by the headteacher who has a clear vision for the school as a community which develops each pupil as a whole child, improving their learning and their confidence. Pupils' above average attendance and their good behaviour are indications of how much they enjoy school, as are the many smiling faces seen throughout the school each day. One pupil said, 'We like our lessons because our teacher makes them fun.' Pupils learn to understand their feelings and the feelings of others and relationships are good.
Achievement is good. A period of unsettled staffing in the past resulted in pupils making satisfactory progress, but this has recently improved and pupils are now achieving well overall. Standards in mathematics and science are above average. Standards in English are not as high. The quality of teaching is good and pupils' positive response in lessons helps them to make good progress. Pupils' work is marked regularly, but the quality of the marking is not of a consistently high standard across the school and does not provide all pupils with enough guidance on how to improve their work.
Pupils have excellent opportunities to be involved in their school community, for example, as members of the school council or the eco-committee. Their ideas of how to improve the school are listened to and are often acted upon. The strong involvement with the local community includes links with local businesses. As well as helping pupils to connect with the wider community this helps them develop skills likely to be of use in their future lives.
Leadership and management are good. Leaders know the school well, but at times are modest when judging its achievements. This is due to the high expectations they have and their constant striving to improve its performance.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children start in Nursery with skills below those typical for children of that age, particularly in communication and language and personal and social development. They settle quickly to make good progress in the Foundation Stage, due to the interesting activities they are given and the good teaching they receive. Children's introduction to the Nursery is carefully planned, ensuring that they feel safe and happy in their new environment. Throughout the Foundation Stage children are taught consistently well. Both teachers and teaching assistants have a clear understanding of how young children learn. Staff interact well with children, using discussion and questioning well to stimulate children's interest and promote their understanding. Strong emphasis is placed on children's personal development. Adults have high expectations, provide clear routines and enable children to build positive relationships with each other and with adults. All areas of learning are well covered within both classrooms and the staff make the best use of the limited outdoor areas. The school is aware of the limitations of the current outdoor facilities and has plans to improve these. Children make good progress so that by the end of Reception they have reached expected standards for their age. Their transition to Year 1 is well planned, ensuring that their emotional and academic needs are met.
What the school should do to improve further
- Raise standards in English to match those in mathematics and science.
- Improve the quality and consistency of the marking of pupils' work so they all receive detailed guidance on how to improve it.
Achievement and standards
Assessments made by teachers at the end of Year 2 in 2007 were broadly in line with the national average in reading, writing and mathematics. Standards in Key Stage 1 remain average, but are rising due to improvements in teaching. Pupils in Year 6 achieved above average standards in mathematics and science in 2007 and their achievement in these subjects was good. Their standards in English were average, and this represents satisfactory achievement in the subject given their starting points. Standards in English are improving across the school due to good teaching and the outstanding curriculum, but they are not yet as high as in mathematics and science. Pupils' achievement, considering their below average starting point, is now good overall. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities achieve as well as their peers as a result of the excellent support they receive.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Pupils understand how to eat healthily and the many opportunities for physical activities, both in lessons and through extra activities, ensure that they enjoy feeling fit. Pupils say they feel safe in school and the school council have contributed to this through their involvement in the walking bus. The school has worked hard to improve attendance. This is now above average and pupils say they enjoy coming to school as many lessons are exciting. Pupils are polite to each other and to adults. Many opportunities are available for pupils to take on responsibilities in school as monitors, house captains and members of the various councils. There is excellent involvement in the wider community such as through interschool sports, family services in the local parish church and environmental projects. Video conferencing with neighbouring schools is an outstanding example of mutual support between pupils in these different schools. Links have also been made with a school in India to help pupils' understanding of other cultures and countries. Strong links with local businesses, very good social skills, good attendance habits and the good progress they make overall in developing key skills mean that pupils are very well prepared for future economic well-being.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
The quality of teaching is good and is a major factor in the good progress pupils now make. Staff are confident in their work and have high expectations of their pupils. Questioning is of high quality, encouraging pupils to contribute to discussion and giving them confidence to explain what they want to say. The strong emphasis on speaking and listening in lessons is further promoted by the frequent use of 'talking partners' which develops these skills and pupils' understanding. Pupils respond well to staff and display good attitudes to learning in lessons. Teachers use interactive whiteboards well to make lessons more stimulating and exciting. Pupils are able to make good links between subjects, for example, when writing about a piece of art. This helps pupils to make connections in their learning and to deepen their understanding. The quality of marking of pupils' work is too variable and not all comments guide pupils clearly enough to their next steps in learning. Overall, lessons provide appropriate challenge to pupils of different levels of ability. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are catered for and supported well
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum serves pupils exceptionally well. It promotes their enjoyment of school and makes an outstanding contribution to their personal development. The response of different groups of pupils to the curriculum is very carefully monitored. This has resulted in the curriculum being altered to cater particularly for the interests of boys and other specific groups where necessary. Cross-curricular links, opportunities for individual learning and an emphasis on developing skills have all had an extremely positive effect on the learning of different groups of pupils. There is good provision for information and communication technology and the impact of the use of thinking skills on mathematics and science has led to a good improvement in standards. The researching and setting up of mini-enterprises such as the 'cafe' have had an outstanding impact on the development of pupils' economic well-being. The school uses well organised extra-curricular activities to extend and develop the curriculum. There is extensive enrichment through visitors and visits including a residential.
Care, guidance and support
There is an outstanding level of care, guidance and support, provided in a friendly and safe environment. Safeguarding procedures, including risk assessments and health and safety procedures, are in place. Pupils' views are listened to and taken into account by the school. Pupils have confidence in the staff and the adults with whom they come into contact. Procedures for tracking pupils' progress are detailed and thorough and have successfully identified areas of underperformance which the school has now focussed upon. Most pupils have a good knowledge of their targets and so they know what they are aiming for. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are involved in the establishment of their own targets for improvement, which help to guide them to make good progress in relation to their prior attainment. Innovative initiatives like the recently established nurture group provide outstanding care and support for a vulnerable group of pupils. Outstanding links with outside agencies also help to provide vulnerable pupils with the care they need to make good progress.
Leadership and management
The headteacher is an inspirational leader. The disruptions to staffing across the school over recent years have been managed well. The difficulties were also experienced at leadership level, but there is now an able and committed senior leadership team in place which supports the headteacher well. The impact of the measures introduced by the present senior leadership team on standards is beginning to be seen, but there has not been sufficient time for them to have had full impact. School self-evaluation is good and is conducted in a way which involves the whole school community. It has correctly identified key areas for development in the school. Resources are well managed and the school has recently received the 'Financial standard' in recognition of its sound financial management. Value for money is good. Parents are strongly supportive of the school. Governors are very supportive of the school and work closely with the headteacher and staff to help improve the school.