The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
This junior school is larger than average. Fewer pupils are entitled to free school meals than in most schools. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities is broadly average. Two thirds of pupils come from White British families and almost a third of pupils come from Indian families, with a few from other ethnic groups. A higher than average number of pupils speak English as an additional language but none are at an early stage of learning English. Pupils' attainment when they start school is above average.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a good school with some outstanding features. The pupils are proud of their school and their parents are very pleased with the quality of education it provides. Pupils face the future confidently because the school sets them up very capably to deal with it, both in their work and the ease with which they form relationships with each other. Pupils' personal development and well-being are outstanding because they are at the heart of the school's caring ethos. As one parent put it, 'children love this school because it knows and nurtures them'. The school is a very harmonious community in which pupils from different ethnic groups enjoy being together and show a high level of respect for each other. Their behaviour is exemplary. Pupils have a strong sense of responsibility for helping their community to improve and for keeping themselves and others safe.
Good teaching and learning and good levels of care, support and guidance underpin pupils' good progress. Excellent relationships and exciting activities in lessons are major factors in pupils' enthusiasm for learning. Pupils' achievement is good and standards are well above average by the time they leave. Their progress is at its best in speaking and listening, mathematics and science because it is here that the high level of challenge in teaching is most consistent. There are times when pupils of all capabilities do not make the best possible progress in English. This is because their targets are not always clearly enough defined or sufficiently challenging. Additionally, teachers' marking does not consistently help pupils to understand how to improve their work in writing. An outstanding range of extra activities promotes pupils' excellent enjoyment of school and enriches the good curriculum. The curriculum for the arts is particularly exciting and leads to high standards in art and design, singing and drama.
Good leadership and management ensure that the school's Christian ethos is firmly upheld and reflected in its daily life. The staff and governors share the headteacher's vision to get the best for pupils and to provide everyone with an equal chance to succeed. Staff work well together as a team in pursuit of the school's aims. Rigorous self-evaluation and clear direction ensure that staff and governors know what needs to be done in order to improve the school further. The school's good capacity to improve is demonstrated by its success in improving boys' achievement in writing. Governors play a full part in helping the school to improve.
What the school should do to improve further
- Ensure that teachers consistently set challenging targets for pupils in English and that their marking gives pupils better guidance on how to improve their writing.
Achievement and standards
Standards are currently well above average, as has been the picture over several years. Pupils' achievement is good. The picture of good progress is the same for pupils of all capabilities and for those learning English as an additional language. Pupils make the most rapid progress in mathematics and science because teachers' expectations of what they can achieve are particularly high in these subjects. Boys' achievement in writing has been boosted by some good initiatives, such as choosing topics that appeal to their imagination and giving them opportunities to write about things that really interest them. Whilst most pupils do well in English, their rate of progress does not quite match that in other areas because teaching does not always establish realistic targets for pupils to aim for. Consequently, a few less able pupils are occasionally given activities that are too difficult for them and some more able pupils find them too easy. Pupils reach high standards in art and design, singing and drama and relish the opportunities to perform, as well as showing pride in the celebration of their artwork around the school.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils are proud of their school and happy that they go there. Their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Pupils' excellent enjoyment of school is reflected in their good attendance and application in lessons. Pupils are confident and respectful of each other. They get on extremely well together, regardless of background, gender or ability and enjoy helping each other. They show a very good sense of responsibility, for example, in organising their homework. Pupils play a big part in helping their community to improve through the school council. They enthusiastically raise funds for local charities and to aid an orphanage in Russia. Older pupils are excellent models for the younger ones to follow. Year 6 pupils, for example, organise 'huff and puff' activities to help Year 3 pupils see the fun in keeping fit. Pupils are very sensitive to issues of safety, both for themselves and others. Most eat and drink healthily and the recent initiative of selling fruit as snacks at break time is steadily gaining in popularity.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Excellent relationships and exciting activities create a vibrant atmosphere for learning. Enthusiastic teaching means that pupils enjoy their lessons and achieve well. The teachers find ways to make learning fun, including using information and communication technology (ICT) in lessons to engage pupils' interest. They teach pupils how to organise their work, including homework, very well. Teachers promote pupils' speaking and listening very effectively so that pupils voice their opinions and ideas confidently. Questions are often used very skilfully to deepen pupils' thinking, as when pupils were prompted to consider who might be responsible for enforcing the rules they had devised to lead good lives. Teachers check carefully to make sure that pupils who are learning to speak English have a good understanding, especially when they use technical vocabulary in science and mathematics. Teachers consistently aim high in their expectations of pupils of all abilities in mathematics and science and pupils rise to the challenges very well. In English, whilst there are times when expectations are equally high, there are also occasions when the work is not at just the right level of difficulty for pupils' different capabilities. Teachers' marking does not always show pupils clearly enough what they need to do to improve their writing. The feedback given through marking about what needs to be worked on next in writing is inconsistent in its helpfulness to pupils. Teaching assistants provide very good support for pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities. This helps them to take a full part in all activities.
Curriculum and other activities
Pupils' learning benefits from planning that often weaves subjects together so that pupils practise their skills in different situations. The school's initiative to promote writing across the curriculum has worked well in most instances. Younger pupils, for example, have created moving poetry about war that built on their learning in history but there are still a few occasions when opportunities are missed for pupils to use their writing in other subjects. There is outstanding enrichment of the curriculum through a very wide range of visits, visitors and extra activities. As pupils put it, 'there is so much for us to do', and they take full advantage of what is on offer. This includes a wide range of sporting activities and leads to success in competitions at both local and county level.The curriculum for the arts is very well planned to extend pupils' creativity and results in high standards. Pupils put into practice what they have learned through themed weeks on how to keep safe. They are alert to situations around school and on the playground where extra care is needed, for example when using climbing equipment. The school has made a good start on identifying opportunities for extending the curriculum for pupils who are gifted and talented. Links with the neighbouring infant school to promote better continuity of learning are being strengthened and form a priority in the school's planning for improvement.
Care, guidance and support
The staff know the pupils very well and the level of care provided on a day-to-day basis is excellent. Very good attention is paid to safeguarding pupils and so they feel secure. Pupils say that the staff treat them fairly and that adults listen to them and provide help if they need it. Pupils' individual learning needs are identified well and supported sensitively. Adults maintain a good balance between developing pupils' independence and keeping a careful watch for occasions when intervention is needed. Good support for pupils who are learning English as an additional language helps them to succeed as well as other pupils. The school has recently reviewed its system for setting targets for all pupils. Consequently, most pupils know what their targets are. In English, however, there are times when targets are too vague or numerous for teachers or pupils to know exactly what they are aiming for and to gauge progress.
Leadership and management
Good leadership and management are evident at all levels. The headteacher's leadership effectively creates an open and supportive atmosphere in which the staff and pupils want to do their best for each other. There is a real sense of teamwork to achieve the school's aims. Self-evaluation is thorough and gives the school an accurate view of its effectiveness. There is a shared understanding of what needs to be improved because the staff and governors are fully involved in evaluating the school's performance. They have identified the right priorities from their mainly good checks on how well things are working and what needs improving. Most recently, monitoring has focused on how well teachers plan for literacy lessons but there is still work to do in checking that all teachers are fine-tuning the targets set for pupils, using the school's revised system. Governance has improved since the previous inspection. The governors influence the school's work through good challenge and support and monitor its expenditure carefully to ensure that it provides good value for money.