The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
St Saviour's is a large primary school in an inner city location. The school is situated on a very small site with limited playground space. It has undergone a period of expansion between 2003-2007, going from a one to two-form entry. The school is over-subscribed. All pupils come from minority ethnic groups. The largest groups are from Pakistan and Bangladesh. St Saviour's is a church school serving an almost predominantly Muslim community. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and the numbers of pupils with a statement of special educational need and those who speak English as a second language are above average. The pupils come from an area of high social and economic disadvantage and mobility is high. Attainment on entry to the Reception class is well below average. Only half the children have pre-school experience before they start in Reception. The school has achieved the Healthy School award, Activemark and Financial Management Standard.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Overall effectiveness is outstanding. The school ethos is warm and supportive. Pupils enjoy school and blossom in the positive learning environment that is based on mutual respect, tolerance and understanding between faiths. Pupils receive an outstanding education. They learn to become part of, and contribute to, the school and wider community. The school is very strongly supported by parents. They are extremely appreciative and positive about the school, describing it as 'an excellent school, an oasis where children experience a great sense of togetherness.' Parents particularly like how the school motivates them to be involved in their children's learning.
Pupils' achievement is excellent and enables them to reach standards that are above average by the time they leave school. A balance of excellent teaching and well-planned activities ensures Reception children make significant gains in their learning. They continue to thrive in Years 1 and 2. By the age of seven, achievement is excellent and standards are broadly average in reading and just below average in mathematics and writing. Teaching is very strong throughout the school and pupils continue to make significant gains in their learning. By the time pupils leave the school in Year 6, they attain above average standards in English, mathematics and science. Pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities and those who speak English as an additional language make the same excellent progress as their peers.
Pupils' personal development and well-being are outstanding, reflecting top quality care, guidance and support. All pupils say they feel safe and that they are confident adults will deal with any problems swiftly. Pupils gain a good knowledge of how to adopt healthy lifestyles; they identify healthy eating and have a positive attitude to activity but lack of outdoor space limits extensive outdoor activities. Preparation for adult life is good, with pupils developing very competent skills in literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT). They build on this further through the excellent opportunities to develop social skills and a sense of responsibility to the school and wider community.
Teaching is outstanding and this contributes to the rapid and consistent gains in learning. In all classes, support staff work closely with class teachers to ensure that the quality of learning is outstanding. Lessons are challenging and well matched to pupils' abilities. There are excellent systems in place to check on how well pupils are doing. Any dips are swiftly identified and intervention strategies put in place. The curriculum is good. Marking at Key Stage 2 is variable in quality and the way it informs pupils how to improve their work.
The greatest strength of this outstanding school is the very high quality of leadership and management. Led by a highly skilled and innovative headteacher, leaders share passionately her vision for continual improvement with sustained high achievement and standards. The school has made excellent progress since the last inspection and has excellent capacity to improve.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Activities are fun and challenging, and consequently children make excellent progress in the Reception classes. Teachers are extremely well supported by teaching assistants and this contributes to excellent teaching and learning. By the time they enter Year 1, all children are working well within or beyond the Early Learning Goals and have made significant gains from their well below starting points. The number of children reaching and exceeding the expected level is increasing each year. Questions are used very effectively to extend learning, which helps to give children confidence and plenty of opportunity to respond and communicate with others. High expectations and a well-planned curriculum that is extremely well matched to the children's needs are contributing to the remarkable progress they make in all areas of learning. Personal aspects of care are extremely strong and this contributes to a very positive start. Relationships are excellent and consequently children make outstanding progress in their personal development. Excellent leadership and management ensure children make a terrific start to their education. The lack of space available in the school means that the outdoor area is less well developed than other areas of learning.
What the school should do to improve further
- Explore opportunities to extend the school site so that learning outside can be developed.
- Ensure marking is consistent at Key Stage 2 and identifies clearly the next steps in learning.
Achievement and standards
The school successfully enables all groups of pupils to show excellent achievement. The number of pupils reaching the higher levels is increasing each year. The number of pupils on course to reach the higher levels has improved again this year. In the 2007 National Curriculum tests, Year 2 pupils reached standards marginally below average overall. Whilst they are average in reading, they are below average in writing and mathematics. In 2007, pupils in Year 6 reached above average standards in mathematics, English and science, placing the school in the top 5% of all primary schools. Rigorous assessment and tracking, swiftly followed by successful intervention at all levels, is contributing to this outstanding achievement. Teaching assistants support class teachers and ensure the quality of teaching and learning is outstanding. Effective monitoring identifies pupils who need the extra support or additional challenge and strategies are in place for these pupils. As a result, pupils who speak English as an additional language or have learning difficulties and/or disabilities make the same excellent progress as their peers because their needs are responded to expertly by staff and their learning is carefully assessed and managed. A focus on writing has been successful and current results and standards show marked improvement in writing throughout the school. The school works extremely well to eliminate any negative impact caused by pupils joining the school at different times during the term.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils have outstanding attitudes to their learning. They concentrate well in lessons, try to do their best at all times, are very polite and respectful to adults and each other, and enjoy every moment in school. Their behaviour is exemplary. They like to give to their school, as well as receive, and relish their many opportunities to take responsibility, and contribute to the community. This they do through a very active school council, and by older pupils in their roles as trained mediators in disputes between other pupils. They are confident that the school keeps them safe, and that the few instances of bullying are fairly dealt with by staff. Their knowledge of the importance of a healthy lifestyle is good, although their sporting and physical activities are limited by a lack of outdoor space. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. A strength of the school is the way pupils respect all religions, and give each other space to express their faith. Pupils are regularly involved in raising money for charitable causes, which combined with their above average standards in literacy and numeracy, gives them good skills to prepare for their future lives. The school works hard to improve attendance levels.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Pupils benefit from excellent teaching as they progress through the school. Teachers are supported by many high quality support staff and consequently this contributes to the excellent learning. Skilfully targeted support is also making a significant contribution to the quality of pupils' learning. Planning is excellent and takes account of pupils' different abilities. The vast majority of teachers show enthusiasm for learning and have high expectations. As a result, pupils enjoy the lessons and are challenged to produce their very best work. Teachers use questions well. The staff know and track pupils' progress well and the methods used to record progress are well developed. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities or those pupils who need the additional challenge make excellent gains because support is carefully targeted. The quality of marking is variable in quality at Key Stage 2.
Curriculum and other activities
The good curriculum is well organised and extremely well matched to pupils' abilities. Pupils learn through a wide range of activities. Setting in English and mathematics has been introduced successfully in Year 6 and is having a positive influence on pupils' achievement. They benefit from, and thoroughly enjoy, after-school booster classes several days a week. In one of these sessions, pupils rose to the challenge to improve the quality of JK Rowling's writing. The provision for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and gifted and talented pupils, is particularly good and based on extensive knowledge of each pupil's needs. The range of visits and activities outside lessons, and visitors to the school, is good and enriches pupils' cultural experiences. Sporting and outdoor activities are limited by a lack of outdoor space. ICT is used well to enhance learning. Writing is promoted well but in a small number of classes worksheets are used too frequently.
Care, guidance and support
Excellent relationships ensure pupils enjoy their work and develop confidence to make progress in all aspects of their school life. The school cares deeply for its pupils, and all members of staff devote additional time and thought to ensure that procedures for safeguarding and welfare are robust. Parents appreciate the skilful way the school works with pupils and parents to promote their personal and academic development. Initiatives such as 'inspire workshops' successfully encourage parents to support their children's education in a positive way. Excellent links with outside agencies ensure that vulnerable pupils receive additional high quality support. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities receive excellent support. Academic guidance is strong. Challenging targets are set and pupils know their targets. A large number of support staff are skilfully deployed to support the pupils in their academic work and personal development. The learning mentor and support staff in classrooms work very effectively with groups of pupils.
Leadership and management
Inspectors agree with parents that the headteacher deserves a lot of credit and praise for the way she runs the school. One parent reflecting the views of many wrote, 'She has an excellent reputation in the local community for the high standards and motivation to make the school one of the best.' The provision and management of all resources in the school are masterminded superbly by the headteacher, and she is very well supported in this by the governing body. The governors are supportive, but also challenging, to leaders, and make a good contribution to the management of the school. The school leaders accurately evaluate any actions taken but are modest in their judgement of the impact of their decisions. The highly successful leadership team structure involves the whole of the staff, all of whom know that they have a voice in the school. They receive excellent professional development, and are all exceptionally well supported in fulfilling their responsibilities. The success of the team is demonstrated by the exceptional achievement of pupils throughout the school and their excellent attitudes and behaviour. Challenging, but achievable, targets are set in all years, and teachers, teaching assistants and pupils alike thrive on leaders' encouragement to go 'ever higher'. All staff are determined that every pupil will succeed.