Shortstown Primary School
phone: 01234 740881
headteacher: Mrs Denise Cottam
420 pupils capacity: 65% full
140 boys 52%
135 girls 50%
Last updated: Sept. 1, 2014
Primary — Community School
- 1 mile Cotton End Primary School MK453AA (74 pupils)
- 1.1 mile King's Oak Primary School MK420HH (527 pupils)
- 1.1 mile John Bunyan School MK429TR
- 1.1 mile Bedford Academy MK429TR (739 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Harrowden Middle School MK420HH (410 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Kingsbrook Middle School MK420HH
- 1.3 mile Silver Jubilee Middle School MK420HU
- 1.4 mile Elstow School MK429GP (350 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Abbey Middle School MK429XA (227 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Cherry Trees Nursery School MK429LS (130 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Shackleton Primary School MK429LZ (354 pupils)
- 1.7 mile KWS Educational Services MK419TJ (12 pupils)
- 1.8 mile Lakeview School MK426BH (270 pupils)
- 1.9 mile Southway Nursery School MK429HE (55 pupils)
- 1.9 mile Bedford Girls' School MK420BX (989 pupils)
- 1.9 mile Raleigh Education Centre MK429HE
- 2 miles Raleigh School MK429HE
- 2 miles Cople Lower School MK443TH (62 pupils)
- 2.1 miles Peter Pan Nursery School MK429DR (120 pupils)
- 2.1 miles Drake Lower School MK429DR
- 2.1 miles Goldington Green Lower School MK410DP
- 2.1 miles Cauldwell School MK429DR (341 pupils)
- 2.1 miles Bedford Free School MK429AD (387 pupils)
- 2.1 miles Goldington Green Academy MK410DP (448 pupils)
Shortstown Lower School
Canberra Road, Shortstown, Bedford, MK42 0UZ
|Inspection dates||24–25 April 2013|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| The headteacher’s strong and effective |
Leaders and managers, including governors,
leadership motivates all staff and pupils to
develop their talents to be the best they can
have ensured that teaching is good and that
pupils’ achieve well, despite major disruptions
to staffing in the last few years. The school
continues to improve.
| Progress is good because teaching is good. |
Effective teaching and extra support for those
Behaviour is good and pupils care for each
Teachers plan interesting and well-organised
lessons and question and challenge pupils to
think. This engages their interest so that they
learn well and develop good skills in different
who need it mean that all groups of pupils
make good progress.
other and show a pride in their school. They
feel safe, enjoy learning and work hard.
| Sometimes, the marking of pupils’ work does |
Progress in mathematics, although good, is
not show them clearly enough what they
need to do to improve.
not as high as that in English. The recent
change to teaching children of similar ability
levels in small groups has not yet had time to
improve their skills in calculation.
| Only a few teachers share the responsibilities |
for leading subjects and helping each other to
improve their teaching. Too few teachers have
the opportunity to develop these management
skills. This slows the rate of improvement.
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 14 lessons and part lessons of which three were joint observations with the
headteacher. They also observed some teaching of small groups, and saw how pupils who
needed extra help were supported.
- They looked at many documents including records of progress and attendance, plans for school
improvement and policies to keep pupils safe.
- Inspectors listened to pupils read, looked at their books and talked to them about their
behaviour and their views about their school.
- They visited and observed assembly, break times and lunchtimes.
- Discussions were also held with school staff, the Chair of the Governing Body and a
representative from the local authority.
- Inspectors took account of 19 responses from the on-line questionnaire (Parent View), of
informal discussions with parents at the end of the school day and of responses from the staff
|Jenny Edginton, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Kate Robertson||Additional Inspector|
|John Greevy||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- This school is smaller than the average-sized primary school.
- Most pupils are White British. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic groups is well above
the average, but fewer pupils speak English as an additional language than in most schools.
- The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs who are
supported at school action is above average. The proportion supported at school action plus or
who have a statement of special educational needs is slightly below.
- The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium, which is extra funding
provided in this school for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals, is high.
- There has been considerable disruption to staffing in the last few years, with almost all teachers
new to the school since the last inspection, including the headteacher.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Develop the use of the school marking system so that teachers make sure that pupils always
know how well they have done and how to improve their work.
- Develop the leadership roles of more teachers so that they can:-
take on responsibilities for leading the teaching of different subjects and developing subject
improve their coaching skills to help raise more of the good teaching in the school to be
- Raise standards in mathematics by extending the recently-introduced system of teaching pupils
in smaller groups to develop their skills in calculations.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Many children start in the Reception Year with skills which are lower than those expected for
their age. Their starting points can vary from year to year, but all children make good
- Pupils continue to make good progress in older classes so that, by the end of Key Stage 1, their
attainment is broadly average. The good progress continues in Key Stage 2.
- Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs receive support well matched to
their needs. This can be in a Nurture Group, which supports pupils who sometimes find it
difficult to learn with a whole class, in smaller group sessions for particular subjects, or through
one-to-one teaching. The impact of this is carefully checked by senior staff and ensures that
pupils make good progress from their starting points.
- The attainment and progress of pupils from minority ethnic groups and those for whom English
is an additional language, are at least as good as, and sometimes better than, those of others in
- Until recently, the attainment of pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium was about a
year behind that of others, in both English and mathematics. Now, because of the extra support
they are receiving, these pupils make good progress and the gap is closing.
- In a recent Year 1 reading screening check, pupils eligible for pupil premium support had higher
scores than other groups in school.
- Most pupils enjoy reading. The attractive library, the extensive range of new books and the
promotion of reading through book days and visits from authors has a positive effect on those
who need encouragement.
- Pupils use their knowledge of the sounds that letters represent (phonics) to read new words and
they enjoy developing these phonic skills through lively lessons.
The achievement of pupils overall has improved over recent years but attainment in
mathematics is not quite as high as in English.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teaching seen by inspectors was good. Records kept in school and pupils’ work show that
teaching is mainly good with some which is outstanding.
- Teachers question pupils carefully to check their understanding and challenge their thinking, and
this results in good progress.
- The use of discussion between pairs of pupils in most classes helps pupils to share and develop
ideas. This enabled pupils in Year 3 to understand the attitudes and behaviour of characters in a
story. They were then successful in acting out their own interpretations of the story.
- In the Reception class, children were ‘buying’ food in a café to practise and improve their
language and number skills in a real-life situation. Teachers and support staff used questioning
well to help children to improve their knowledge and understanding.
- Pupils are enthusiastic about the topics they study and the way in which subjects are linked. One
class learnt a lot about perimeters by exploring the size of an Egyptian pyramid. In another
class, pupils identified types of angles in the shapes of famous buildings. This clearly linked their
school learning to practicalities.
- Recent changes in the teaching of mathematics, by grouping pupils according to their attainment
for a few lessons each week, is starting to increase the rate of progress for the older classes as
they concentrate on gaining good number skills.
- Marking is regular and often detailed. However, the marking policy is not used consistently, so
not all pupils are told how to improve their work or given time to do so.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- Pupils’ good attitudes to learning mean that behaviour in lessons is usually attentive and
involved. They co-operate well and work together in a calm and organised way. Skilled and calm
behaviour management by adults means that any less positive behaviour is not allowed to
disrupt the learning of other pupils.
- Pupils say they enjoy school and are proud of taking on responsibilities. A Year 4 pupil explained
that being a member of the School Council ‘...means you have to be a good role model for the
- Attendance levels have risen to be broadly average and the staff and governors have set targets
above national attendance levels. The school works hard with parents to ensure that these are
- The great majority of parents are positive about the behaviour in school and, along with the
pupils, say that any problems are rapidly and effectively dealt with.
- Bullying is seen as rare and this is shown by the behaviour logs kept by the school. Pupils
understand different types of bullying and say that they feel safe and cared for in school, as
there is always someone to help them.
- Pupils understand the need for good manners and their polite and friendly attitudes reflect the
positive values in the school. Behaviour in the playground is good and they share the space and
their games fairly. They usually move around the school sensibly, although a few pupils need
careful supervision as they find it difficult to remember and observe the rules which each class
sets for itself.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The headteacher has high ambitions for all in the school. Her drive, high standards and care are
reflected in the attitudes of staff and pupils. She has welded a largely new and inexperienced
staff into an effective team who are ensuring all pupils make good progress.
- Leaders have a clear and accurate knowledge of how well the school and its pupils are doing
and have developed clear plans for future progress as the size of the school expands and moves
into its new building.
- The school works successfully with the local university and colleges for training teachers. School
support staff are enthusiastic and appreciative of the headteacher’s support in their own training
and career progression.
- The school works successfully to develop good links with families. Responses to Parent View and
discussions between inspectors and parents were positive, with the great majority of parents
prepared to recommend the school to others.
- All aspects of safeguarding requirements are met. The school makes sure that all pupils are
given equal opportunities and that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated.
- The local authority provides a representative who holds professional conversations with the
headteacher, which give her good support in analysing the school’s performance.
- The wide range of topics and subjects taught promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural
development of the pupils well. They enjoy many opportunities for dance and music, working
with visiting artists, authors and sports coaches as well as taking part in residential activity
courses, visiting places of worship, attending local festivals and much more.
- Senior leaders work hard and effectively with other teachers to develop teaching skills and
improve subject knowledge and teaching but there are not currently enough teachers with extra
responsibilities to develop this work further.
- The governance of the school:
The strong and experienced governing body is well informed about the quality of teaching in
the school. It has considered current performance data and is aware of both strengths and
weaknesses in pupils’ achievement.
Governors understand the links between pay and performance and reward teachers
appropriately. They set clear targets for the headteacher and both support and challenge her.
Finance is carefully spent after clear identification of need and its impact is carefully checked.
For example, they have spent pupil premium funding wisely and so raised the progress of
What inspection judgements mean
|Grade 1||Outstanding||An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes |
that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures
that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
|Grade 2||Good||A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well |
for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage
of their education, training or employment.
|Grade 3||Requires |
|A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it |
is not inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within
24 months from the date of this inspection.
|Grade 4||Inadequate||A school that requires special measures is one where the school is |
failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and
the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not
demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary
improvement in the school. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and
requires significant improvement but leadership and management
are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
|Unique reference number||109498|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Primary|
|Age range of pupils||4–9|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||156|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||2 December 2008|
|Telephone number||01234 740148|
|Fax number||01234 743644|