The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
Sellincourt is a larger than average primary school serving a socially and economically diverse community. The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is well above average. Over three-quarters of the pupils come from minority ethnic backgrounds and about half speak English as an additional language. These proportions are much higher than are found in most schools. The main languages spoken, other than English, are Tamil, Urdu and Gujerati. The percentage of pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities is lower than is found in most schools, although the proportion with statements of special educational need is higher than is usually found. The school has a unit for hearing-impaired pupils and there are currently 9 pupils on roll. An increasing number of pupils join the school at times other than the usual times. Mobility is higher than average. The headteacher has been in post since 2004.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This friendly and caring school provides a satisfactory education for its pupils and has several good features. It is a happy and harmonious place where pupils make good progress in developing their personal and social skills. Pupils show their enjoyment of school by attending regularly and behaving well. By the time they leave the school, pupils have become well-rounded individuals because of their good spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. There is a strong commitment towards making every child feel valued and fully included in every aspect of school life. These aspects are praised by parents, one of whom commented, 'Our children enjoy being taught in a stimulating, safe, inclusive environment'. The environment for pupils is good. Classrooms are bright and attractive and the well maintained accommodation and playground provide pupils with good opportunities to learn and play. Children in the Foundation Stage benefit from a beautiful garden where they grow flowers, fruit and vegetables, for example.
Standards are below average overall and achievement is satisfactory. Children join the Nursery with variable but generally typical skills of three-year-olds and make a satisfactory start to their education. Standards by Year 2 are broadly average and are improving. Standards by Year 6 have declined in the last three years and were well below average in the national test results in 2006. The school is working hard to tackle this problem and the evidence indicates that it is succeeding in arresting the decline. Standards have risen, although they remain below average, and current pupils in Years 3 to 6 are making satisfactory progress relative to their starting points. The school is aware, however, that more remains to be done to raise standards further, particularly by making more rigorous use of assessment information to ensure that all groups of pupils achieve as well as they can.
Teaching and learning are satisfactory overall, with good features. The school is rightly keen to improve the overall quality to good and better in order to raise standards further. Recent improvements to teaching have accelerated progress in lessons but have not had time to make an impact on national test results.
The headteacher has a clear focus on raising standards and ensuring that pupils do as well as they can. She is well supported by the deputy headteacher, senior leaders and other staff and governors. A strength of the school is the good quality of teamwork and commitment which ensures that everyone plays an integral part in moving the school forward. There is a real sense of determination to do better. In response to disappointing Year 6 results over the last three years, the school has put into place a series of intervention programmes and initiatives designed to raise standards. It now needs to draw breath and evaluate the impact of its work on pupils' achievement.
What the school should do to improve further
- raise standards in English, mathematics and science in Years 3 to 6
- evaluate the impact of recent interventions and initiatives on pupils' achievement
- make more rigorous use of assessment information in order to ensure that all groups of pupils achieve as well as they can.
A small proportion of schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory but which have areas of underperformance will receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.
Achievement and standards
Standards are variable but below average overall. Achievement is satisfactory. Children settle into school well and make good progress in the Foundation Stage, particularly in their personal, social and emotional development. They are well prepared for more formal learning when they enter Year 1.
Standards by Year 2 were broadly average in 2006. This represents an upward trend over the last few years, with noticeable improvements in writing. Standards by Year 6, however, have fallen in the last three years and were well below average in 2006. The school is working hard to raise attainment in Years 3 to 6 and its actions have begun to bear fruit. Inspection evidence and the school's own data show that standards have begun to rise. However, the initiatives have not been in place for long enough to have a significant impact on pupils' achievement in the long term.
Support provided for pupils with learning difficulties, those in the hearing impaired unit and those for whom English is an additional language enables them to gain the basic skills for learning and to access the full curriculum. Their achievement is in line with their classmates. Higher attaining pupils make satisfactory progress. The school is aware of some small pockets of underachievement in some groups of pupils and has begun to tackle the problem both at pupil level and by working more closely with their parents.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' personal development and well-being are good. Children learn to cooperate with each other in the Foundation Stage and develop positive attitudes to their learning which are subsequently maintained across the school. Pupils show real pride in their school and appreciate the many good things that are on offer. They speak with particular enthusiasm about the school's recent centenary celebrations, for example. Bullying, if it occurs, is quickly dealt with according to the pupils. Pupils recognise assemblies as important community occasions in which they can celebrate the success of others. They show respect for each other's feelings and different viewpoints. Break and lunch times, for example, are happy occasions with pupils from different backgrounds playing happily together. There is a strong awareness of the richness of the different cultures within the school and local community. Pupils are given many opportunities to take on responsibility. Members of the school council are proud of their achievements.
The school is working hard with parents to ensure that their children attend school regularly. As a result, attendance has improved and is now just above average. Pupils participate enthusiastically in sports and show a good understanding of which foods are good for you. The pupils' satisfactory basic skills, coupled with their well-developed social skills, prepare them soundly for the next stage of their education. As one Year 6 pupil said, 'I will really miss this school but I am looking forward to going to my next school'.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning have improved. Teachers are working hard to raise standards. Although these improvements have not yet had time to have an impact on national test results, work in pupils' exercise books shows that standards are beginning to rise. In most lessons, teachers share their objectives with the pupils so that they are clear about what it is they are expected to learn. A varied range of teaching styles and resources are used to make learning fun. Handwriting is taught well throughout the school.
However, expectations of what pupils can achieve are not sufficiently high in some classes and a slower pace to lessons fails to challenge and stimulate interest. Marking is usually up-to-date but does not always help pupils to understand what they need to do to improve their work. Pupils are set targets for their learning in English and mathematics but they do not always know what they are and how they can help their learning.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum is satisfactory with some good features. It is appropriately broad and balanced and meets the needs of the pupils. Recent improvements to planning in English and mathematics are beginning to be reflected in rising standards. Senior leaders have made a start in developing a more thematic curriculum but more remains to be done, particularly in the area of developing more problem-solving activities across a range of subjects. Hearing impaired pupils are given good support so that they can access the full curriculum.
The school provides a good range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities. These include three very popular choirs, a chess club, a gardening club and a number of sports activities. A particularly good example of curriculum enrichment can be seen in the mosaic to which every pupil has contributed. Regular visits provide first-hand learning experiences and promote pupils' social development.
Care, guidance and support
Care, guidance and support are satisfactory with many good features. The school is rightly proud of its caring ethos. Recent initiatives, such as the employment of a learning mentor and the introduction of Place2Be provide good support for pupils who need extra help with their learning or behaviour.
Academic guidance is satisfactory. The school is beginning to develop effective methods for keeping track of pupils' progress. Teachers recognise that they need to make more rigorous use of the data they have to ensure that all groups of pupils make the progress of which they are capable.Many recent interventions and initiatives have been put into place to support pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities, those with English as an additional language and those at risk of under-achieving. However, systems for evaluating the work of these initiatives in order to judge their impact on pupils' achievement are not yet in place.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are satisfactory with some good features. There are clear signs of improvement and the school is in a sound position to build on these. Standards in writing have risen, for example. Subject leaders are developing their roles and taking a more active lead. Attendance and behaviour have improved since the last inspection. Self-evaluation is mostly accurate and the school has correctly identified priorities for improvement. There has not yet been sufficient time, however, to see the full impact of all the recent initiatives to raise standards, particularly in Years 3 to 6 where they are not high enough. Governors are supportive and are developing their role as critical friends.
The headteacher has won the confidence of most parents. Parents, teachers and pupils value the calm ethos of the school. There is a strong commitment towards the inclusion of all learners. The school runs smoothly and there are well-understood daily routines.