Stimpson Avenue Primary School
Headteacher: Mrs Iris McBrearty
488 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||121919|
|Inspection dates||19–20 November 2009|
|Reporting inspector||Roderick Passant|
|Type of school||Primary|
|Age range of pupils||3–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||463|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||3 July 2007|
|School address||Stimpson Avenue|
|Telephone number||01604 631383|
|Fax number||01604 454471|
|Inspection dates||19–20 November 2009|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by four additional inspectors. The inspectors visited 12 lessons, and held meetings with the headteacher, deputy headteacher, some subject coordinators, year leaders and key stage co-ordinators, the special educational needs coordinator, the member of staff responsible for pupils with English as an additional language and two groups of pupils. An extended telephone conversation was held with the Chair of the Governing Body. Inspectors observed the school's work, and looked at a range of documentation associated with child protection and safeguarding, the school's system for monitoring pupils' progress and the school improvement plan. The inspection team analysed 83 parental and 88 pupil questionnaires.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following:
This is a large primary school. Around two thirds of pupils travel to the school from outside the immediate area. The percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals is just below average. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is high, as is the proportion of pupils for whom English is an additional language. Many of these pupils are at early stage of learning English when they join the school. The percentage of pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities is above average but the proportion of pupils with statements detailing their educational needs is low. The proportion of pupils joining or leaving the school other than at standard times is broadly average; many of these pupils join the school relatively late in their school career. The Early Years Foundation Stage consists of Nursery and Reception classes. There is a breakfast and after-school club, which is not managed by the school governors and is subject to a separate inspection. The school has gained the International School Award and an award for its extended curriculum provision.
|Inspection grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate|
|Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms|
Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?
The school's capacity for sustained improvement
A pupil described the school as a 'smiley school' and it is easy to see why. Pupils do smile a lot, at teachers and their classmates. It is a very friendly place; pupils get on well with each other and they positively welcome new pupils into the school. Pupils are very happy in the school, enjoy learning and feel very safe. The school population is richly diverse ethnically but the school's leaders have ensured that it is also a highly cohesive community. One pupil said, 'Teachers are great and lessons are interesting. Teachers help you, give you good advice and help sort any problems you might have with friends.' Pupils talk about the headteacher with great warmth and respect. They clearly have confidence to approach the adults in the school should they have a concern. They are proud of their school and what they achieve. They want the headteacher to be 'pleased and proud' of them. Pupils' behaviour is excellent in lessons and across the school and this adds to their sense of security. For some pupils facing difficulties in their personal lives, the fact that the school provides a bedrock of calm stability is particularly important. The school helps the pupils develop as young people extremely well because of the outstanding care, guidance and support provided by staff, supported by its excellent curriculum. Almost all parents agree or strongly agree that they are pleased with their child's experience at school and all agree that their child is happy at the school.
Pupils currently make good progress and achieve well because teaching is good. Attainment on entry is low and standards were broadly average in the Year 6 tests in 2009. The previous report noted that whilst overall progress was good in relation to pupils' starting points, progress slowed in Years 3 and 4. The school has taken clear steps to tackle this and pupils are now building well on the broadly average standards attained in Year 2. Teachers plan their lessons carefully to meet the wide range of needs although lesson planning tends to detail what the teacher proposes to do rather than clarifying what pupils are to learn. Excellent relationships between adults and pupils underpin the learning and create a very positive ethos in classrooms without losing a sense of fun and enjoyment.
Subject co-ordinators, year group leaders and staff with other specific obligations are clear about their responsibilities and effective in their roles to improve aspects of the school. Leadership and management across the school at all levels to drive improvement are therefore good. There is strong teamwork within sections of the school. The headteacher and deputy headteacher provide outstanding leadership. The school's deeply embedded commitment to valuing all pupils stems from them. They work very closely and effectively together, out and about in corridors and classrooms, stitching the teams together and ensuring that the school maintains its very cohesive, corporate feel. Leaders and managers have a clear understanding of the strengths of the school and what needs to be done, and are effective in the way that they tackle these aspects. The school improvement plan accurately identifies appropriate priorities but lacks clear success criteria to measure the impact of the various initiatives on pupils' learning The school has improved in a number of important areas since the last inspection, particularly in relation to extending the opportunities within the curriculum and ensuring that there is now good progress in the junior section of the school. Given the track record of improvement since the last inspection, the school has good capacity for sustained improvement.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
Across the school, pupils concentrate extremely well in lessons, enjoy their work and make good progress. Older pupils, for example in a science lesson, were able to work independently and in groups. They talked together enthusiastically about what they might do if they had more batteries, using correct scientific vocabulary as they set about predicting their results. In a mathematics lesson for younger pupils, there was similar excellent behaviour and focused concentration. Pupils made good progress because the learning was organised in small steps and they clearly enjoyed what they were doing.
The school monitors all pupils' progress carefully, putting in place specific strategies to support groups of pupils, for example, the lunchtime homework clubs for Bengali speakers, particularly Bangladeshi girls, to foster greater academic confidence. Pupils who have been in school for most of their school career attain average standards overall. Pupils who join the school late in their school career make good, often accelerated progress in relation to their starting points. Bi-lingual pupils make good, and in some cases, excellent progress in mastering English because teaching approaches used across the school provide them with good support in lessons. The school has revised its approaches to teaching mathematics and also focused appropriately on improving pupils' writing. The impact of this work is evident in the current good progress pupils are making. Arrangements for teaching pupils of similar ability in the same group for English and mathematics, combined with good teaching, ensure that higher attaining pupils are suitably challenged.
Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. The school fosters pupils' self-esteem consistently and well. There is a clear framework of expectations and pupils are given wide-ranging opportunities to work together. The school is rich in its cultural diversity and uses this to foster respect for different ways of life and beliefs. Pupils have good opportunities to take responsibility across the school. They have an excellent understanding of what makes a healthy life-style. When an inspector queried why a pupil was eating crisps, the pupil replied, 'You don't know the game we are going to play. I'll soon burn the crisps off.' Given pupils' very positive attitudes to learning and their good grasp of basic skills, the school prepares them well for the next steps in their education.
These are the grades for pupils' outcomes
|Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning|
Taking into account:
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their progress
|The extent to which pupils feel safe||1|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles||1|
|The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community||2|
|The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being|
Taking into account:
|The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||1|
1 The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4 is low
Staff are confident and manage their classrooms well. There is good teamwork with the teaching assistants who are clear about their role within a specific lesson. Work is targeted effectively to the various ability groups. Lessons often progress in small steps, and make extensive use of visual or practical approaches, such as cutting a clock face in half to reinforce the concept of 'half past'. In addition, group discussion is used to allow pupils to rehearse their ideas. These approaches help the significant proportion of emerging bi-lingual learners. English and mathematics are taught within ability bands, which help narrow the ability range within each group. Teachers bring pupils together periodically throughout the lesson to check on their progress before moving on. Marking is good and almost all pupils in their questionnaires said that they know how to improve their work.
The curriculum provides a range of excellent links, including internationally, which coupled with the excellent enrichment opportunities extend what is taught in lessons. Pupils have wide-ranging opportunities to demonstrate their skills and achieve success. This not only helps create the school's extremely positive ethos but also fosters pupils' confidence. Above all, it provides pupils with memorable experiences and raises their achievement. Personal, social and health education are particularly strong elements and this is reflected in pupils overall excellent personal development. Residential experiences play an important part. There is good emphasis given to physical education as well as the arts. The school links subjects together within the history and geography topics and is developing these links further. There is a very good variety of contexts where pupils write for different purposes. The school uses a range of intervention and 'catch-up' strategies very effectively to support pupils' particular needs. The curriculum is a key element in pupils' overall enjoyment of school and has improved significantly since the last inspection. The school is very busy: a visiting author, a prestigious concert, a school photographer, and visits to the local sports centre are part of normal routines, providing the school with its natural zest and fostering pupils' enthusiasm for learning.
The school has maintained its outstanding care, guidance and support since the last inspection. One parent wrote, 'All staff have been extremely supportive of us as a family and treated [my child] with care and sensitivity.' The school is particularly successful in tackling individual pupil's barriers to learning, making highly effective use of specialist agencies and involving parents. It targets support to those who need it very effectively. The concern that the school has for individuals is deeply embedded within its professional culture. The school does everything it can to improve attendance. Most children have good attendance. Although the school does not sanction holidays in term time, a number of families make extended homeland visits for medical or family reasons. The school contacts parents or carers where there are concerns regarding absence.
These are the grades for the quality of provision
|The quality of teaching|
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
|The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant, through partnerships||1|
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||1|
The school is not complacent but is committed to improvement. This commitment is shared across the strong teams that exist within the school. The headteacher has high expectations and has developed effective leadership across the school. Targets are challenging.
Governance is good. Governors bring a range of professional and personal expertise and the Chair of the Governing Body is very experienced, as is the clerk. The governors have nearly completed the extensive processes involved in gaining the Financial Management of Schools award. Finances are tight and money is spent carefully to good effect. Committees have a clear remit and the governors are given good information to challenge the school. In addition, staff make periodic presentations to the governing body and there is a regular programme of governor visits. There is a specific community subcommittee to foster and evaluate the school's excellent work on community cohesion. The governing body is very aware of its responsibilities for health and safety and child protection. Safeguarding arrangements are suitably robust. Governors are encouraged to undertake individual training.
The school's commitment to promoting equal opportunity is deeply embedded. Respect for others is a key tenet of the school. This is reflected in pupils' outstanding cultural awareness and development, the careful monitoring of progress of all pupils, including specific minority ethnic groups, and clear strategies to support and increase achievement.
These are the grades for leadership and management
|The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement|
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
|The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the|
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
|The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers||2|
|The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||1|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||1|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||1|
Children join the Nursery with skills well below expectations for their age group, particularly relating to speech and language. Despite this, they make good progress and achieve well. Most children reach the expected levels by the time they enter Year 1, although aspects of literacy are still not as secure as other areas. Children develop very quickly in personal independence, and in both the Nursery and Reception classes, staff foster their confidence and self-esteem well. This is because they recognise the individuality of each child and there is a good balance of child- and adult-initiated activities. Children who are anxious are supported sensitively and staff are adept at interacting and participating actively in children's learning, play and development. Creativity is valued and children take part in a range of experiences to develop their imagination and ideas. Adults take every opportunity to engage children in conversation and language skills are therefore fostered well. Staff are vigilant and work well as a team to support the needs of individuals ensuring that children's welfare is promoted effectively. Leadership and management are good because there is a clear overview of what has been achieved and areas of further development are clearly identified; these relate to the embedding of recent initiatives and enhancing further the learning environment.
These are the grades for the Early Years Foundation Stage
|Overall effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage|
Taking into account:
Outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The quality of provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The effectiveness of leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation
Almost all parents agree or strongly agree that they are pleased with their child's experience at school and all agree that their child is happy at the school. Most parents think their child is making enough progress. A significant minority have concerns how the school deals with unacceptable behaviour. The school adopts a positive approach to managing behaviour and the success of this strategy is evident in pupils' outstanding behaviour in lessons and around the school. A significant minority express concerns about pupils' preparation for the future. The school has undertaken further work since the last inspection in developing the links with the secondary school including liaison with Year 7 staff and developing shared work. A small number of parents disagree with the statement that the school meets their child's needs. Inspectors judged that the outstanding curriculum and the very high quality of the school's care, guidance and support meet pupils' needs excellently.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Stimpson Avenue Primary School to complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13 statements about the school. The inspection team received 83 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 463 pupils registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||57||69||26||31||0||0||0||0|
|The school keeps my child safe||50||60||32||39||0||0||1||1|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||38||46||40||48||5||6||0||0|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||42||51||35||42||3||4||1||1|
|The teaching is good at this school||48||58||31||37||1||1||0||0|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||46||55||34||41||2||2||0||0|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||45||54||34||41||1||1||1||1|
|The school makes sure that my child is well prepared for the future (for example changing year group, changing school, and for children who are finishing school, entering further or higher education, or entering employment)||26||31||40||48||6||7||1||1|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||36||43||39||47||6||7||0||0|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||46||55||26||31||3||4||3||4|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||25||30||48||58||4||5||1||1|
|The school is led and managed effectively||45||54||31||37||4||5||1||1|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||51||61||30||36||1||1||0||0|
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.
|Grade 1||Outstanding||These features are highly effective. An oustanding school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils' needs.|
|Grade 2||Good||These are very positive features of a school. A school that is good is serving its pupils well.|
|Grade 3||Satisfactory||These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory school is providing adequately for its pupils.|
|Grade 4||Inadequate||These features are not of an acceptable standard. An inadequate school needs to make significant improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils. Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it improves.|
|Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)|
|Type of school||Outstanding||Good||Satisfactory||Inadequate|
|Pupil referral |
the progress and success of a pupil in their learning, development or training.
the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and examination results and in lessons.
|Capacity to improve:|
the proven ability of the school to continue improving. Inspectors base this judgement on what the school has accomplished so far and on the quality of its systems to maintain improvement.
|Leadership and management:|
the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities, not just the headteacher, to identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff and running the school.
how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their understanding, learn and practise skills and are developing their competence as learners.
inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall effectiveness based on the findings from their inspection of the school. The following judgements, in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness judgement will be.
the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and over longer periods of time. It is often measured by comparing the pupils' attainment at the end of a key stage with their attainment when they started.
23 November 2009
Inspection of Stimpson Avenue Primary School, Northampton NN1 4LR
Thank you for making my colleagues and me so welcome in your school. We enjoyed our stay very much. My particular thanks go to those Year 6 pupils who kindly gave up part of their lunchtime to talk to us. What you had to say was very helpful.
This is an outstanding school. It is helping you develop as young people extremely well. You clearly feel very safe and enjoy your work a great deal. Your behaviour is excellent in lessons and around the school. It is also a very friendly place. One of you described it as a 'smiley school' and I know just what you mean. Staff care a great deal about you all and keep a careful eye on your progress. You are currently making good progress across the school. The school has taken effective steps to ensure that you make good progress in the junior section. Standards are broadly what you would see in many school but improving as you build on what you attained in Year 2.
The reason that you are making good progress is because teaching is good. You have skilled teachers. To help them a bit more, I asked your teachers to ensure that they give more emphasis in their planning to what you are learning. The school draws up a plan which identifies all the improvements that it wants to make. I asked the school to find ways of checking that the plans have been successful. The advantage of this is that everyone involved can celebrate their achievements.
The school has improved since it was last inspected and I am sure that it will continue to improve and you can help in that process. I know that you all want your headteacher and all of the staff to continue to be proud and pleased with your work.
|Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance 'Complaining about inspections', which is available from Ofsted's website: ofsted.gov.uk. If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 08456 404045, or email email@example.com.|