The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
This smaller than average sized primary school includes a Resource Base for up to 12 pupils from across the borough who have statements of special educational needs for autism. This is a change since the last inspection. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is just below the national average. The proportion learning English as an additional language, although low, has increased in recent years. The proportion of pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities is below average whereas the proportion with statements of special educational needs is well above average. The school has gained the Basic Skills Award, the Sports Activemark (Gold), Eco-Schools Silver Award, the local authority's Inclusion Award and the National Healthy Schools Award.
Overall effectiveness of the school
The school provides an outstanding education for its pupils. It has not only maintained high standards of pupils' academic and personal development since the last inspection but has improved the way it caters for pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities, for example, in the way it now hosts the Resource Base for pupils with autism. The school is highly regarded in the community and parental views are summed up through comments such as: 'An excellent school where my children are learning and above all are happy.' The school has excellent capacity to improve and gives outstanding value for money.
Pupils achieve exceptionally well, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and those at the early stages of learning English as an additional language. By the end of Year 6, standards in English, mathematics and science are significantly above the national average in most years. Inspection evidence and school data show that for the current Year 6, standards are on course to be above average. A significant proportion of this group joined the school late in their primary education. The staff analyse data about how well pupils perform exceptionally well and are quick to spot trends or concerns. For instance, a slight decline in standards of pupils' writing recently has been halted by concerted, whole-school action.
Pupils' personal development and well-being are excellent. Pupils thoroughly enjoy their time at school thanks to the excellent quality of relationships. Their behaviour is exemplary and this helps all pupils to feel safe in school. The inclusion of pupils from the Resource Base in lessons and at playtimes and the reverse, when mainstream pupils join in lessons in the Resource Base, promotes pupils' social and moral development exceptionally well, encouraging tolerance and friendships. The excellent progress that pupils make in their basic skills added to the very positive attitude pupils have to working with others prepares them exceptionally well for their future.
The teaching and learning are of high quality. Excellent relationships between pupils and staff result in a positive classroom atmosphere, allowing pupils' learning to blossom. Lessons have very good pace and challenge for pupils. Staff have improved the marking of pupils' writing in recent terms so that pupils have a clear understanding of what they need to do to improve. This excellent practice, however, is not reflected in other subjects. The curriculum is outstanding, providing not only excellent opportunities for pupils to develop basic skills of literacy and numeracy but to explore a wide range of subjects and activities, including modern foreign languages, music and sports in lessons and after school. The high quality of care, guidance and support given by all staff ensures the safety and well-being of all pupils. Partnerships with other agencies and schools are used fully to promote the achievement of pupils, especially those in the Resource Base and others with additional needs.
Leadership and management, including governance are outstanding. The headteacher's sustained and enthusiastic leadership is extremely well supported by the deputy headteacher and a strong senior leadership team. Arrangements to monitor teaching, learning and the performance of pupils are outstanding and lead to very accurate school self-evaluation. The commitment of all staff to doing the very best for all pupils, whatever their need, is excellent and leads to the outstanding outcomes evident in pupils' achievements and personal development.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
The overall effectiveness of the Foundation Stage is good with some outstanding features, for example, assessment is extremely thorough, enabling staff to very effectively monitor children's progress. The children enjoy their learning and have a very positive and caring attitude toward one another. They get a good start in the Nursery class where the majority enters at levels in line with those expected for their age. Children achieve well so that by the end of the Reception year, in personal, social and emotional development and in communication and language - areas of specific focus - children's attainment is above that expected nationally. Good teaching and support from teaching assistants make a positive contribution to the good progress of the children. There is a good balance of teacher-directed and child- initiated activities. There is much for children to enjoy indoors, although resources for outdoors are only satisfactory. A current priority is to improve the quality of the outdoor activities. There are good arrangements for introducing children to school and keeping close partnerships with parents. Good leadership and management ensure that children's needs are met and good links with outside agencies assist those children with additional needs.
What the school should do to improve further
- Develop the excellent practice in the marking of pupils' writing to other subjects so that pupils better understand how they can improve their work.
Achievement and standards
Pupils make progress at a consistently high rate across all year groups so that by the end of Year 2, standards are on course to be above average in reading and mathematics and average in writing. The school's current focus on improving pupils' writing skills has had a good impact on this aspect of their work. Pupils from the Resource Base are included in assessments when appropriate and in the current year group, two pupils have achieved as well as their classmates in Year 2. This is outstanding achievement. Excellent progress is maintained in Key Stage 2 and newcomers to school, including the few who are new to this country, do exceptionally well. By the end of Year 6, overall standards are usually significantly above the national average in most years. In the current Year 6, standards are above average overall. Because of the nature of this year group, with half of the pupils joining the school since the end of Year 2, there is an atypical mix of pupils, many of whom are working at above expected levels and a larger than usual number who are below the expected level.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. All pupils work and play together very happily. Pupils' attendance, which is consistently above the national average, reflects their enjoyment of school. Punctuality is very good. Pupils have an excellent understanding of healthy lifestyles and make very good choices about the food they eat in school and the exercise they take. The very good take up of activities after school and the pupils' keen involvement in inter-school sports are testament to this. Pupils have a very good awareness of personal safety. The contribution that pupils make to their community is outstanding. For example, being buddies or members of the school council, roles which they take very seriously. Pupils from the Resource Base are included in these responsible roles. Pupils contribute very well to the wider community through their collections for local, national and international charities.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
The outstanding quality of teaching and learning leads to the excellent achievement of pupils. Very good support from teaching assistants for individuals and groups of pupils, especially those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, makes a valuable contribution to pupils' learning. Teachers monitor pupils' progress very well and make very good use of this information when planning work. This helps to ensure that lessons are matched to pupils' needs. There is a very good range of activities which provide interest and challenge. For example, pupils who are more able in numeracy have weekly sessions on solving mathematical problems with older year groups. Teachers' good use of questioning enables pupils to extend their vocabulary in their responses. For example, pupils in Year 6 used terms such as 'logical', 'methodical' and 'in order' to describe how they should approach problem solving. Pupils respond particularly positively in lessons where imaginative use is made of interactive whiteboards. Whilst pupils' work is marked regularly, there are inconsistencies in the quality of marking across subjects and pupils do not always have clear guidance on how to improve their work.
Curriculum and other activities
A variety of external awards adds much to the outstanding curriculum. The work towards these underpins, for example, the way the school promotes healthy living and creative and sporting skills exceptionally well. Pupils of all abilities are encouraged to take part in a wide range of sporting activities, many on a competitive basis with other schools where they are often highly successful. Themed weeks, for example, one on Africa, help pupils to gain an excellent insight into the richness of the cultures and crafts of the continent. This topic is an excellent example of the benefits the school enjoys as a result of the establishment of the Resource Base, because the lead for this whole-school event was work led by staff in the base. Pupils learn one of two modern foreign languages and sample the other. This year, there is an opportunity for a residential visit abroad for older pupils to practice their growing skills at speaking French. Personal, social and health education is given a high priority and promotes pupils' awareness of matters of personal safety and well-being very well. There are excellent opportunities to learn a musical instrument and to make practical use of computer skills.
Care, guidance and support
These are key strengths and contribute fully to the outstanding personal development and well-being of pupils. All aspects of health and safety, including child protection and the safe recruitment of staff are in place. The school has as its mission to do the best for all pupils and since the last inspection has improved its work with those who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities or are newly arrived in this country. Parents are especially appreciative of the expertise and support of staff. A comment typical of many is, 'I feel this school meets all of my child's needs and I am proud she attends here.' The monitoring of attendance is robust and results in pupils' good attendance. The tracking of pupils' personal and academic development is extremely effective. The information is used very well to meet pupils' individual needs.
Leadership and management
At all levels, leadership and management are highly effective in promoting excellence. For instance, staff have grasped the opportunity provided by the establishment of the Resource Base in school to widen their own and the pupils' experience of learning disability. This has been a key priority for the manager of the base, who as a member of the senior leadership team works closely with the headteacher and senior staff in the success of this endeavour. The outcomes in terms of the achievement of the pupils and the attitudes of all pupils are very impressive. All staff are fully involved and consulted in school self-review and forward planning, and the governors have an excellent strategic overview of the school. They have close links with subject leaders and are knowledgeable advocates for the school. They are exceptionally well led and fully informed about all matters of curricular, financial and premises development through committee work.