The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
This is a smaller than average sized school. It serves an area of social and economic disadvantage. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is average. The proportion of pupils with a learning difficulty and/or disability is below average. The number of pupils leaving or joining other than at the start of the school year is below average. The large majority of pupils are from a White British heritage.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a satisfactory school with some good features. It provides satisfactory value for money.
The school is highly valued by parents who appreciate the priority the school places on pupils’ personal, social and emotional development. By the time they leave school pupils are mature, responsible individuals and reflect all that the school stands for. They are caring, reflective and have developed good attitudes to learning. As a result their behaviour is very good around school and they work hard in lessons. They enjoy coming to school and attendance is average. Pupils understand what constitutes a healthy lifestyle though are honest enough to confess to not always making healthy choices. They willingly accept responsibilities and contribute to the smooth running of the school day. Pupils are generous in their support of local and national charities.
The national assessment results in 2007 for Year 2 pupils were broadly average though slightly below in writing. Evidence shows that standards in the current Year 2 are similar though writing is below expected levels. Nevertheless, progress is satisfactory. Progress is also satisfactory by the end of Year 6. Results for Year 6 pupils in the 2007 national tests were broadly average but the proportion of pupils reaching the higher levels in mathematics and science was below average. In the current Year 6, school records show that standards are again similar to those of last year. School action has increased the proportion of pupils reaching the higher levels, particularly in mathematics.
Teaching is satisfactory overall leading to pupils’ satisfactory achievement. Progress is good where teachers are focused on what they want pupils to learn, give pupils the knowledge and skills and then time to use what they know. This approach is not consistent across the school and at times discussion and questioning are not sufficiently challenging. This slows progress. Marking does not consistently give pupils advice which would help them to improve their work and thus accelerate progress. The good curriculum promotes pupils’ personal development very effectively and a wide range of activities develop an enjoyment of learning. Very good relationships are at the heart of the care and support pupils receive. They are confident they have someone to go to should they have any concerns. The arrangements for tracking pupils’ academic progress are not effective enough in identifying pupils who are not making appropriate progress.
Leadership and management are satisfactory. Governors, staff and parents are full of praise for the effective leadership of the headteacher in promoting the care and personal development of pupils. Management monitors the school’s work and has identified appropriate areas for development with some indications of impact on pupils’ performance. The school has yet to implement fully a system for tracking pupils’ progress or to develop managers’ role in monitoring progress. Governors’ contribution to the strategic development of school improvement is not fully developed.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Provision in the Foundation Stage is satisfactory overall. Children start Reception with skills and knowledge broadly typical for their age. They make satisfactory progress overall and enter Year 1 with skills and knowledge close to expected levels. An appropriate range of indoor activities provides opportunities for children to exercise choice and work independently. Play-based activities encourage an interest in the world about them. Outdoor provision has improved since the last inspection. Though space is limited, it is now secure and provides further opportunities to develop pupils’ skills. Planning ensures that the basic skills are taught and staff carefully check pupils’ progress. Good relationships mean children are well cared for and happy. The new staff have been successful in creating a bright welcoming environment and are keen to seek advice on how to further improve provision.
What the school should do to improve further
- Raise standards of writing by the end of Year 2.
- Ensure marking identifies what pupils need to do to improve.
- Implement a system that rigorously tracks pupils’ progress and identifies those pupils not making sufficient progress.
- Develop the managers’ role in monitoring standards and progress.
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 broadly average and achievement and progress are satisfactory. In the 2007 national assessments, results for Year 2 pupils were broadly average in reading and mathematics and slightly below in writing. Current standards in Year 2 are at expected levels in reading and mathematics and the school has sustained the improvement seen in 2007. Writing in Year 2 remains weaker. Progress and achievement is satisfactory compared to their starting points.
National test results for Year 6 pupils in 2007 were broadly average. This represents satisfactory progress and achievement in English. A significant minority of pupils did not achieve as well as expected in the mathematics and science tests and the proportion of pupils achieving the higher levels was below average. The school did not achieve the challenging targets set. Standards in the current Year 6 are broadly at expected levels, representing satisfactory progress and achievement. Inspection evidence indicates that action taken by the school has increased the proportion of pupils attaining the higher levels in mathematics and science. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make satisfactory progress because of the sensitive support of teaching assistants.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils’ personal development and well-being are good. Pupils are proud of their school and identify strongly with its aims and values. Their social, moral, cultural and spiritual development is good, exemplifying the religious ethos of the school and demonstrated by their high levels of responsibility and maturity. Very good relationships underpin the very good behaviour of pupils. This is also reflected in the care and concern shown by older pupils to younger pupils during the school day. They feel free from intimidation and bullying but are mature enough to reflect that ‘sometimes we fall out.’ Pupils reflect on their own feelings and relationships as shown in some sensitive writing about ‘a friendship never made’. They value that their views are respected and concerns swiftly addressed. Pupils therefore enjoy coming to school and attendance is average. In this atmosphere pupils feel safe and have a good understanding of the need for a healthy lifestyle. The school council has the confidence to represent the views of their peers and plays its part in improving the school. Pupils support others less fortunate than themselves through fundraising events for a range of charities. Their maturity and good social skills are a sound preparation for the next stage of their education.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning are satisfactory with some good features but also inconsistencies. Teachers have good subject knowledge and prepare lessons with activities that generally interest the pupils. Computer technology is used well to explain new ideas and demonstrate new skills and is effective in sustaining pupils’ attention. Good relationships and high expectations mean that pupils are well behaved and lessons are productive. Effective teaching was demonstrated in a Year 4 science lesson. The introduction was delivered with pace, was sharply focused on what the pupils were to learn and pupils were given time to use and apply what they knew. Pupils therefore made good progress in their understanding of simple electric circuits. On occasions the pace of teaching is too slow. Introductions and discussions do not involve all the children and questioning does not probe and challenge pupils’ thinking. Pupils do not have sufficient time to use and apply what they know and this slows progress. Marking praises pupils’ efforts and there are some good examples where pupils are given advice on how to improve. This is not consistent across the school and many pupils do not get the benefit of this advice.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum is good. It is very effective in promoting pupils' personal, social and health education and their understanding of how to stay healthy. Computer technology is used well and pupils have opportunities to use and develop their computer skills in other curriculum areas. Basic literacy and numeracy skills are developed within other subjects with particularly good examples of pupils using their writing skills in science and topic work. The school is seeking to extend these opportunities further. A greater focus on science investigations and on applying number has increased the proportion of pupils working at the higher levels. The curriculum is adapted to take account of the needs of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. A good range of visits, visitors and after-school activities enriches the curriculum, provides opportunities for pupils to build on and acquire new skills and promotes enjoyment of learning. This was evident in an exciting Year 6 drumming lesson. Provision in music is good. The Year 5 links with the local secondary school offers opportunities to consider multicultural issues and the study of subjects across the curriculum.
Care, guidance and support
Care, guidance and support for pupils are satisfactory. The very good relationships underpin pupils’ personal development and pupils are therefore confident that problems will be resolved quickly. Parents are made very welcome and appreciate that the staff are very approachable and will listen and deal with any concerns. This was evidenced by the large number of parents and others who attended a Reception ‘Good Work’ assembly during the inspection. Appropriate health and safety routines and risk assessments are in place and child protection and safeguarding arrangements are secure. Systems for monitoring and tracking pupils’ progress are not fully in place which limits the school’s ability to identify those groups of pupils not making the appropriate progress. Teachers and teaching assistants provide sensitive support to those pupils needing additional help with their work. Links with the parish, community and sporting organisations and other schools contribute to the smooth transition pupils make into secondary education.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are satisfactory. The headteacher has the full support of the staff and parents who recognise her effective leadership in ensuring that the school sustains the high priority placed on pupils’ personal development. Her personal skills and concern for the individual ensure that staff are well supported and receive the necessary training to address change. Staff are therefore receptive to change and morale is high.
Monitoring and evaluation of the school’s performance are satisfactory and the school has identified appropriate areas for development. This has enabled the school to make improvements in the teaching of mathematics and science and increase the proportion of pupils achieving the higher levels. However, management does not yet effectively check pupils’ progress. This limits their ability to identify pupils who are not making sufficient progress, to give them the necessary support and thus raise achievement. The school is in the early stages of implementing such a system but management’s understanding of how to use the information to promote school improvement is not fully developed.
The headteacher has the full support of the governors who appreciate and value her personal qualities. They understand the school’s strengths and weaknesses but are not yet fully involved in the strategic development of the school nor is their role as a critical friend fully developed. Governors are keen to develop their role further and are attending courses on financial management. Given the satisfactory improvement since the last inspection, the high morale of the staff and the early indications of the impact of school action planning, the school has a satisfactory capacity for improvement.