The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
This school serves an urban population with significant disadvantage. A high proportion of pupils, almost half, are eligible for free school meals. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is also very high. Nearly all the pupils are of White British heritage. A few are from minority ethnic families and none speaks English as an additional language. The school is smaller than average and the number of pupils on roll is declining. Children generally start school with low levels of attainment.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This effective school provides good value for money. This is because it has the ability to harness its strengths, aims high for its pupils and accesses support when needed to make sure that all the pupils achieve well. The new headteacher and perceptive leadership team are rigorous in their approach to school improvement and a strong staff team is enabling the school to build on its successes.
Children are achieving well. They make excellent progress in the Foundation Stage to reach similar standards to children of their age in other schools and continue to make good progress in Key Stage 1 where they reach above average standards in reading and mathematics. Standards in writing are broadly average. The 2005 Year 6 national test results were well below average, but the 2006 tests show a significant improvement. The school has regained the features of pupils’ very good achievement in 2003 and 2004. Pupils are forging ahead in their understanding and skills in reading and mathematics, and Years 5 and 6 are currently working above the expected levels for their age.
The reason for this recent improvement is that the quality of teaching is good, following staffing turbulence that partly contributed to a fall in standards in 2005. This weakness sparked intensive analysis of pupils’ progress and lots of professional debate with everyone in school. The outcomes have provided teachers with a clearer understanding of how to ensure pupils make consistently good progress. This builds more evenly on the outstanding quality of provision and standards in Reception. As pupils move up through the school, they acquire exceptional skills in reading, good habits for learning, and are really good at listening. There are fresh approaches planned to raise the standard of pupils’ writing because the teaching does not always stretch the pupils enough, particularly the higher attaining pupils.
The curriculum is designed effectively to widen pupils’ experiences, and to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to help them deal with the choices open to them in the future. Pupils’ skills in information and communication technology (ICT) are satisfactory. They have enough access to computers but not enough opportunities to use their ICT skills in other subjects.
Pupils say that they enjoy school, feel that school listens to their views and that they get to take responsibility around the school. Because of this and the excellent quality of care they receive, they show great respect for each other and staff. In addition, the school’s excellent background work with outside agencies, voluntary bodies, and the on-site nursery, all help pupils to overcome the difficulties faced by quite a number of them. For many, their confidence grows as they see the progress they make and how much the school values what they have to say.
Parents and carers are welcomed into school, and effective communication with families has prompted many appreciative comments as parents get to know more about their child’s education.
What the school should do to improve further
- Increase the range of opportunities in different subjects for pupils to improve their writing.
- Make more use of ICT as a tool for learning in other subjects.
Achievement and standards
The results of the 2005 national tests for the Year 6 pupils showed that standards were low among the pupils who took the tests. This was explained to some extent by the nature of the cohort and a result of temporary staffing difficulties. The school has recovered from this position when it did not meet its targets. Pupils’ work in Year 6, the work from the end of the last academic year and the unreported results of tests in 2006 show that progress in Key Stage 2 is good. Pupils are forging ahead in their understanding and skills in reading and mathematics, and Years 5 and 6 are currently working above the expected levels for their age. However, there is a small proportion of higher attaining pupils for whom, in writing in particular, progress and achievement are just satisfactory.
The children make excellent progress in the Foundation Stage to reach similar standards to children of their age in other schools. The high standards in Key Stage 1 in reading and mathematics are the result of continued good progress. The pupils do not achieve as well in writing. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities do as well as their classmates.
Personal development and well-being
The personal development and well-being of pupils are good, underpinned by the good quality of relationships which exist between teachers, learning assistants, mentors and pupils. As a result, pupils are well behaved and motivated to learn. They are keen to take part in other activities which the school provides and respond well to the opportunities provided to take responsibility. Since the previous inspection, the school has worked hard to improve attendance levels, which are now similar to those found in most schools. Pupils appreciate all that is achieved on their behalf by their effective school council. For example, the recent introduction of lunchtime play activities, led by the pupils themselves and the planned development of a ‘healthy eating’ tuck shop. This also reflects pupils’ good understanding of what is needed to lead a healthy lifestyle. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. Their skills in literacy and numeracy help prepare them well for the next stage in their education but older pupils in particular recognise the need to broaden their experience of using computers across all subjects.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
The quality of teaching and learning is good and enables pupils to make good progress.
Efficient planning, excellent relationships and teachers’ improved use of assessment are the key features that help pupils to work purposefully, enjoy their lessons and to check what they have learned. Teachers are able to set work more precisely to pupils’ abilities and skills to move them on successfully. However, they are the first to recognise that this work is not yet fully streamlined and working as they would wish. For example, although higher attainers are beginning to thrive on greater challenge, teachers do not always plan enough opportunities for them to use their writing skills enough in all subjects. Teaching assistants make a professional contribution to learning, including that provided for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The ‘magic ingredients’ that make a difference to learning for pupils in Preston Greenlands lie in key skills that are nurtured throughout the school. These enable them to become attentive and courteous listeners, and skilled readers who are prepared to learn and benefit from their newly established targets, and effective feedback and marking.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum is good and meets the needs of the vast majority of pupils, ensuring that they develop well and make good progress. It is enhanced by a good range of, mostly sport related, extra-curricular activities. Pupils particularly appreciate and benefit from an extensive programme of educational visits. They are taught how to keep healthy and stay safe through the school’s programme of personal, social and health education, which is monitored closely and adapted to ensure that it effectively meets their needs. Although pupils achieve well, the school recognises that there is the need to plan greater use of ICT in other subjects.
Document reference number: HMI 2507 1 September 2006Inspection Report:Preston Greenlands Community Primary School, 12–13 September 20066Document reference number: HMI 2507 1 September 2006
Care, guidance and support
The care, guidance and support provided are good. The school takes exceptionally good pastoral care of pupils. All the requirements for the care, safety and protection of pupils are in place, including those for risk assessment. There is good support provided for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and a huge amount of highly effective background support and transition arrangements to support pupils facing difficulties. Guidance for academic progress and the support provided are becoming increasingly thorough and systematic, and are notably most effective in reading. Pupils benefit from knowing clearly what they are to learn and appreciate the feedback they are given on how they are doing.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are good. The headteacher has a powerful vision for the future of the school and effective skills to bring about improvement. Leaders have high expectations of the pupils and encourage them to succeed, whatever their circumstances. The school’s evaluation of its work is accurate and uncompromisingly honest. Everyone takes responsibility for the quality of education provided and the standards achieved, illustrated by the focus of professional discussion in the school which has become: ‘so what can we do about it?’ Monitoring is becoming increasingly purposeful and effective. Subsequent findings have been acted upon by subject leaders who are developing their skills well. Everyone is learning together to improve targeted aspects of pupils’ achievement. These include writing and setting suitable challenge for higher attainers. Staff are now well placed to plan for pupils to reach their highest potential and the school has a good capacity to move forward and raise standards further. Governors are competent, ably led and committed to serving the school well.