Head Teacher: Mr Paul Worley
School holidays for Sycamore Academy via Nottingham council
210 pupils capacity: 142% full
170 boys 56%
130 girls 43%
Last updated: June 24, 2014
Primary — Academy Converter
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Academy Converter
- Establishment #
- Open date
- Jan. 1, 2012
- Reason open
- Academy Converter
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 457794, Northing: 340958
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 52.963, Longitude: -1.141
- Accepting pupils
- 3—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Region › Const. › Ward
- East Midlands › Nottingham East › St Ann's
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Free school meals %
- Trust school
- Is supported by a Trust
- Learning provider ref #
- Sycamore Junior School NG34QP
- Sycamore Infant and Nursery School NG34QP
- Sycamore Primary School NG34QP
- 0.2 miles Huntingdon Infant School NG34AY
- 0.2 miles The Huntingdon Junior School NG34AY
- 0.2 miles Huntingdon Primary and Nursery School NG34AY
- 0.2 miles Huntingdon Academy NG34AY (251 pupils)
- 0.3 miles St Ann's Well Nursery and Infant School NG33PQ
- 0.3 miles Elms Primary and Nursery School NG34HA
- 0.3 miles Hollygirt School NG34GF (167 pupils)
- 0.3 miles The Mount Preparatory School NG34LA
- 0.3 miles St Anns Well Primary School NG33PQ
- 0.3 miles St Ann's Well Academy NG33PQ (233 pupils)
- 0.4 miles St Augustine's Catholic Primary and Nursery School NG34JS
- 0.4 miles St Augustine's Catholic Primary and Nursery School, A Voluntary Academy NG34JS (348 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Blue Bell Hill Junior School NG32LE
- 0.5 miles Blue Bell Hill Primary and Nursery School NG32LE
- 0.5 miles Our Lady and St Edward's Catholic Primary School NG32LG
- 0.5 miles Rutland House School NG35AJ
- 0.5 miles Rosehill School NG32FE (93 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Jamia Al-Hudaa Residential College NG35TT (245 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Darul Amaanah NG35TT
- 0.5 miles Our Lady & St Edward Primary & Nursery Catholic Voluntary Academy NG32LG (251 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Blue Bell Hill Primary and Nursery School NG32LE (375 pupils)
Ofsted report transcript
Abbotsford Drive, St Ann's, Nottingham, NG3 4QP
|Inspection dates||19–20 November 2014|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Previous inspection:||Not previously inspected|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Early years provision||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| Together with senior leaders, the headteacher is |
Consistently good teaching helps all groups of
Pupils make good progress in reading because of
The good attitudes and behaviour of the vast
Pupils feel safe and well looked after.
rapidly improving the quality of teaching and
pupils to make good progress in English and
mathematics. As a result, standards are rising.
the effective teaching of letters and sounds
majority of pupils contribute well to the academy’s
calm learning atmosphere.
| Disabled pupils and those who have special |
Children make a good start to their academy lives in
Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
Good use is made of the support available from
Pupils enjoy coming to the academy and attendance
educational needs make good progress because
they have well-focused individual support.
the Nursery and Reception classes.
development is promoted well. This contributes to
the marked sense of community throughout the
teaching assistants. They contribute well to the
development of pupils’ early reading skills.
has improved since 2013. They particularly benefit
from the good provision for music and physical
| In a few lessons, the work that teachers set for |
The expectations communicated through the
the most-able pupils is too easy.
marking of pupils’ work in some subjects are not
high enough. Pupils are not always required to
follow up advice on how they can improve their
spelling, punctuation and presentation, and learn
from their mistakes.
| The attainment of particular groups of pupils, |
Several governors are new to their roles and do not
including those who have difficulties in
communication and language, is often below that of
the others in English and mathematics in the early
years and Key Stage 1.
yet have the skills needed to hold leaders and
managers to account for the quality of teaching and
Information about this inspection
- The inspectors observed teaching and learning in 16 lessons. Several lessons were observed jointly with
members of the senior leadership team. Senior leaders also joined the inspectors in reviewing pupils’
- The inspectors observed the breakfast club and two assemblies, and made a number of short visits to
- Pupils were observed at break and lunchtimes.
- The inspectors held discussions with the headteacher, staff and pupils, three members of the governing
body and two representatives of the Academy Trust.
- Groups of pupils of different ages were heard reading.
- The inspectors took account of the 17 responses to the staff questionnaire
- There were insufficient responses to the Ofsted online questionnaire (Parent View) for these to inform the
- Inspectors looked at the academy’s policies, teachers’ plans, samples of pupils’ work, academy
improvement planning and records on behaviour and safety. Inspectors also looked at information on
individual pupils’ progress and teachers’ performance, and records of meetings held by the governing
|Kenneth Thomas, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Nicola Crossley||Additional Inspector|
|Marian Driver||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- This is an above average size primary academy.
- The predecessor school, Sycamore Primary School, converted to become an academy in September 2012
and is part of the L.E.A.D Academy Trust. When the predecessor school was last inspected by Ofsted it
was judged to be good.
- Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage attend the Nursery for either morning or afternoon sessions
and attend the academy full-time in the Reception Year.
- The pupil premium provides support for almost seven in 10 pupils in the academy. This is well above the
national average. The pupil premium is additional government funding for disadvantaged pupils who are
known to be eligible for free school meals, and those who are looked after by the local authority.
- Seven in 10 pupils are from a minority ethnic heritage background. This is well above the national
- Four in ten pupils have English as an additional language. This is above the national average.
- The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is close to three in ten.
This is above average.
- The academy is growing in size with an increasing number of pupils joining the academy at other than the
usual times part way through the school year.
- The academy meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for
pupils’ attainment and progress.
- The academy provides a breakfast club that is managed by the governing body and has recently
introduced an after-school extended learning club
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Further improve the quality of teaching and raise standards in English and mathematics by ensuring that:
there is an even stronger focus on supporting particular groups of pupils, including those who have
difficulties in language and communication in the Early Years Foundation Stage and in Key Stage 1, so
that all pupils develop a more secure foundation for their learning in Key Stage 2.
the most-able pupils are consistently given tasks that makes them think and work hard
the expectations communicated through the marking of pupils’ work are consistently high in all subjects
teachers systematically check that pupils act on the advice they are given, particularly with regards to
spelling, punctuation and the presentation of their work.
- Improve leadership and management by ensuring that all governors, particularly those new in post, have
the skills needed to check how well the academy is doing so that they are more able to challenge it to
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The headteacher, with the support of a strong leadership team, is rapidly improving achievement and
sustaining the good behaviour and well-being of all the academy’s pupils. All staff share a common sense
of purpose and determination to promote equality of opportunity and tackle discrimination. They are keen
to ensure that each individual pupil realises his or her potential.
- Leaders have made good use of the expertise available through the Academy Trust, for example, to help
develop teaching and learning, and to improve the reliability of teachers’ assessments. Assessment
information is now used much more accurately to check pupils’ progress and provide extra help where
necessary. Following the removal of National Curriculum levels, the academy is collaborating with other
academies in the Trust to develop a common approach to assessment.
- Action to improve reading standards is particularly successful as pupils move through the academy.
Teachers’ sharp focus on supporting pupils’ reading has been supported by successful strategies to involve
more parents and carers in listening to their children read at home. This is helping to raise standards.
Leaders fully recognise that, given the challenges facing many pupils when they first enter the academy,
they must continue to make every effort to raise younger pupils’ attainment in reading, writing and
mathematics. They have good plans in place to make this happen.
- Careful checks of the academy’s work enable senior leaders to identify the correct areas for improvement.
These, linked to effective procedures for the management of teachers’ performance and good training
opportunities, have enabled teachers to develop their skills and improved the quality of teaching. This is
particularly the case in the teaching of phonics.
- Teachers with subject and other leadership roles are provided with appropriate training and support.
Through checks on the quality of teaching in their areas of responsibility ensure they play an effective part
in the academy’s drive for improvement. This is particularly effective in English and mathematics. Good
leadership in the Early Years Foundation Stage also ensures that children make good progress in all
aspects of their personal development.
- The curriculum is well planned to engage pupils’ interest and promotes achievement well. It is enhanced
by a range of clubs and visits, including residential visits, which assist pupils’ learning and their personal
development. Pupils have access to an excellent range of enrichment opportunities, for example, all pupils
have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument and many play in the academy orchestra or
sing in the academy choir.
- A strong ethos of care and inclusion runs through the academy’s life. The acceptance of cultural and
religious difference is central to the good promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
development. Pupils develop a clear sense of values and the vast majority show respect and consideration
for others. Pupils are well prepared for life in modern Britain.
- The additional primary school sports funding is being used well to employ specialist staff, develop
teachers’ skills and widen the range of activities the academy offers. As a result, more pupils participate in
physical activities regularly and there are more opportunities for competitive sport.
- Good use is made of the substantial additional funding the academy receives through the pupil premium.
Additional staffing and resources are used well to help meet the needs of pupils for whom this funding is
intended, especially in literacy and numeracy. Although the academy acknowledges that more needs to be
done, the use of this funding has already led to a narrowing of the attainment gap between these pupils
and pupils nationally in reading, writing and mathematics.
- The Academy Trust has provided the academy with good support, for example in developing subject
leadership and effective approaches to assessment and systems for financial management.
- The governance of the school:
The governing body is very supportive and keen to ensure that the academy continues to improve.
Governors represent and have strong links with the local community. They make sure that key values
such as tolerance and understanding of the beliefs of others are carefully promoted. Together with the
academy’s leaders, governors carefully check that there are appropriate procedures for keeping pupils
safe and that all safeguarding requirements are met. They make sure that finances are managed well
and that the primary sports funding and pupil premium funding are used for the intended purposes.
Governors understand that teachers’ pay and promotion must be justified by the impact of their
teaching on pupils’ progress. They receive regular reports about the strengths of teaching and what
needs to improve and oversee the arrangements for managing the performance of teachers, including
the headteacher. However, they are very reliant on reports from the headteacher, and some governors,
for example those new in post, do not fully understand how best to use assessment information to
recognise good teaching for themselves or challenge leaders about the academy’s performance.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- The behaviour of pupils is good. Most pupils display positive attitudes to learning and behave well, both in
lessons and around the academy. This is an important factor in the good progress they make in lessons.
Staff, pupils and the parents and carers spoken to during the inspection, agree that the behaviour of most
pupils is good.
- The emphasis on good behaviour begins in the Nursery and Reception classes and is reinforced
throughout the academy. There are well-structured procedures to recognise and reward good behaviour
and the consequences of any misbehaviour are made clear. Although in a few lessons some of the most-
able pupils occasionally lose interest when they are not challenged by their learning, most pupils conform
to the academy’s high expectations of their behaviour. As a result, the academy is calm and the learning
environment is purposeful.
- The academy is generally successful in helping pupils who find it hard to comply with behavioural
expectations to improve. These pupils make good progress, because most teachers have the necessary
skills to manage their behaviour well. Consequently, temporary exclusion is used very sparingly and
permanent exclusions are rare.
- All pupils spoken to said that they enjoy being at the academy. This is evident from the improvement in
attendance, which is now close to average, and from the reduction in the levels of persistent absence.
- The academy’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is good. All staff are checked for their suitability prior
to appointment and all visitors and volunteers are also appropriately checked. Pupils feel safe in the
academy and are confident that adults will look after them well if they have any concerns. The academy’s
determination that bullying or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated is made very clear.
- Pupils understand about different kinds of bullying, including cyber bullying, physical bullying and
persistent name-calling. Pupils say that while there have been instances of bullying in the past, they are
not aware of any current issues. They are confident that any incidents would be quickly dealt with by
- Pupils respond well to opportunities to take on responsibility. Through, for example, their roles as
academy councillors or members of the eco-team, they develop self-confidence and make positive
contributions to the academy community.
- The breakfast club is well-supervised and provides the pupils who attend with a very welcoming, friendly
and nutritious start to the day.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Good and better teaching ensures that all groups of pupils make good progress and achieve well in
reading, writing and mathematics. Good relationships and effective class management are features of the
teaching in most lessons. These help to develop positive attitudes to learning and ensure that pupils
almost always concentrate fully on their work.
- In most lessons, teachers make good use of their subject knowledge and assessment information to plan
work that is appropriately demanding for all groups of pupils. However, in a few lessons, the work given to
the most-able pupils is not hard enough and this slows their progress.
- Teachers make clear at the outset of lessons what pupils are going to learn. Through the effective use of
questioning, pupils’ progress is checked and their understanding is deepened because, in the main, they
are forced to think hard. This is a strong feature of much of the good teaching seen in mathematics. For
example, in a lesson with Year 6 pupils, rapid progress was made in understanding equivalent decimals
and percentages because the teacher constantly asked pupils to explain the reasoning that led to their
answers and checked that all understood before moving on.
- Good teaching of phonics provides the basis for the improving performance seen in the Year 1 screening
check. This, together with the good teaching evident in all other classes, lays the foundation for pupils’
good progress in reading as they move through the school. In lessons and in small groups, adults provide
effective support for pupils so they become more competent in the use of context clues and the links
between letters and sounds. As a result, they become increasingly confident readers who are able to read
for purpose and for pleasure by the time they leave.
- The academy makes effective use of discussion to help pupils to decide how best to organise their writing,
which is helping to raise standards in this subject. This is particularly helpful to pupils with weaknesses in
language and communication, and for pupils who are at the early stages of learning to speak English.
This, together with additional support, means that these pupils make rapid progress in spoken English by
the time they leave the academy.
- The teaching of physical education and sport is a particular strength. Specialist coaches work alongside
class teachers and share their specialist skills. This helps to improve their teaching.
- Teachers and teaching assistants work well together to make sure that disabled pupils and those with
special educational needs make good progress. Each pupil has a well-constructed individual support plan,
which includes their personal learning targets. These are used by teachers in planning to make sure that
the work set is well matched to pupils’ needs.
- There are inconsistencies in the marking of pupils’ work. Some marking, particularly in English and
mathematics, provides pupils with clear pointers for improvement, but other marking does not help pupils
to improve enough. In some instances the teachers’ expectations, as communicated through their
marking, are not high enough. Spelling and punctuation errors are not always checked and poorly-
presented work is sometimes accepted without challenge. Where pupils are given guidance, they are not
always required to follow it through and so learn by correcting their own mistakes.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Children enter the Early Years Foundation Stage with knowledge and skills that are often weaker than
those typically seen at their age in communication, language, and personal and social development. Good
care and support enable children subsequently to make good progress, although weaknesses remain in
most areas of learning when children enter Year 1. For example, in 2014 over half of the children did not
reach the levels that are expected for their age in communication and language, with a similar picture in
personal and social development.
- Good progress continues in Key Stages 1 and 2, although the standards reached at the end of Key Stage
1 are still often well below average because of pupils’ language and communication difficulties. They are
affected by the large number of pupils who join the academy in different years, often with low attainment
at entry. Children who join the academy in the Nursery and Reception generally reach higher standards
by the time they leave than those who join the academy in later year groups.
- Pupils make particularly good progress in reading and standards have been broadly average at the end of
Year 6 over the last three years. These standards, which represent very good progress when pupils’ skills
on entry are taken into account, are underpinned by the good early progress made in pupils’ ability to link
letters and sounds (phonics). Results in the Year 1 phonics screening test have shown a year-on-year
improvement and, whilst below average, are now approaching the nationally required standard.
- Although standards in writing and mathematics at the end of Year 6 were below average, in 2014, they
represented good progress in relation to pupils’ starting points. Nevertheless, because the academy is
focused on the development of writing and mathematics, standards are improving and are on track to be
higher this year. This is confirmed by pupils’ current work and academy assessment information which
show that the progress of pupils of all ethnic heritages and those with English as an additional language
- The progress of the most-able pupils is closer to the nationally expected rate of progress rather than the
proportions making rapid progress, because they are not always given hard enough work.
- Disadvantaged pupils make good progress and the attainment gap between these and all pupils nationally
is narrowing. At the end of Key Stage 2 in 2014, they were close to pupils nationally in reading, about
half-a-term behind in writing and just under two-terms behind in mathematics. Their attainment was
about the same as their classmates in reading, and just over a term ahead in writing and mathematics.
- Displays of pupils’ work show that they achieve well in a range of subjects. They produce good artwork,
for example, and displays of topic work show the good development of creative and investigative skills.
Music is a strength. Pupils showed high levels of commitment and good skills when the orchestra was
rehearsing during the inspection.
- Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs make good progress. Support for these
pupils is managed well. Their individual needs are well known and additional support is carefully tailored
to help meet them. Younger pupils with communication and language difficulties find reading and writing
a challenge but the good progress they make throughout the school means that gaps between these
pupils and the others narrow by the time they leave.
- Pupils enjoy physical activity. Their health and well-being are enhanced by their participation in well-
taught physical education lessons.
|The early years provision||is good|
- Good leadership of the Early Years Foundation stage ensures that there are effective procedures for
keeping children safe and regular checks are undertaken to make sure that equipment is safe. As a
result, children feel safe and secure and settle quickly into the academy’s routines. Parents and carers
appreciate the approachability of staff, the care they take of their children and the good communication
between home and school.
- Teachers make good use of their knowledge of the needs of early learners to provide a stimulating
learning environment in which the development of children’s language and their social development are
high priorities. As a result, children of all backgrounds, including disabled pupils and those who have
special educational needs, make good progress.
- Teachers’ assessments of children’s progress are used well to plan activities that extend the most-able
and meet children's different needs. The attractive indoor and outdoor learning environments are used
well to provide children with a variety of learning activities that capture their imagination and help them
to develop and build on their starting points.
- Adults provide good role models in showing pupils how to speak clear and correct English. They model
expected responses clearly and often correct and extend children’s answers. As a consequence, children
learn new words and speak and listen well. Questioning is used well to help children develop their skills
and confidence in description. The effective teaching of phonics (letters and the sounds they make)
provides a good platform for the development of their reading and writing skills in Year 1.
What inspection judgements mean
|Grade 1||Outstanding||An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes that |
provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures that pupils
are very well equipped for the next stage of their education, training or
|Grade 2||Good||A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well for all |
its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
|Grade 3||Requires |
|A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it is not |
inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within 24 months
from the date of this inspection.
|Grade 4||Inadequate||A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing |
to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s
leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have
the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This
school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and requires
significant improvement but leadership and management are judged to
be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular monitoring by
|Unique reference number||137786|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Primary|
|School category||Academy converter|
|Age range of pupils||3-11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||308|
|Headteacher||Mr Paul Worley|
|Date of previous school inspection||Not previously inspected|
|Telephone number||0115 9155804|