Thameside Infant School
- Aug. 31, 2012)
Phone:01375 *** ***
Headteacher: Mrs Louise Nevill
see new Thameside Primary School
270 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||114849|
|Inspection dates||22–23 October 2008|
|Reporting inspector||Wendy Forbes|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
The registered childcare, managed by the governing body, was inspected under section 49 of the Childcare Act 2006.
|Type of school||Infant|
|Age range of pupils||3–7|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number on roll|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mr Mike Fall|
|Headteacher||Ms Dot Todhunter|
|Date of previous school inspection||20 October 2005|
Date of previous funded early education|
|Not previously inspected|
|Date of previous childcare inspection||Not previously inspected|
|School address||Manor Road|
|Essex RM17 6EF|
|Telephone number||01375 372188|
|Fax number||01375 394735|
|Inspection dates||22–23 October 2008|
© Crown copyright 2008
The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Thameside is an average sized infant school located in the heart of a multi-cultural community. Children's starting points on entry to the school are, for the most part, well below what is expected for their age. The proportion of children eligible for free school meals is well above average. Numbers joining or leaving the school other than at the normal time are higher than usual. The percentage of children with learning difficulties or disabilities is average and includes children with speech language and communication difficulties, moderate learning difficulties, and behavioural, social and emotional concerns. Just over fifty percent of children are of White British heritage but the population as a whole is made up of a number of minority ethnic communities. The proportion known to be at an early stage of learning English as an additional language (EAL) is above average. A new independent Children's Centre was recently opened on the school site. Awards gained by the school include Investors in People, Artsmark Gold, ECO bronze, Basic Skills, Activemark, Healthy Schools and Outdoor Learning.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Thameside Infants is a good school. Parents express positive views and rightly agree that it is, 'A good school where children are happy and everyone is made to feel special'. Personal development is good. Children enjoy school, are keen to learn and most behave well. Staff have developed a good working partnership with parents who are encouraged to be fully involved with their children's learning and appreciate the school's openness and warmth of its welcome. There are good procedures for children's welfare, health and safety. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are well cared for and settle quickly into school routines, making satisfactory progress from their well below average starting points. Children make good progress overall by the end of Year 2, particularly in mathematics where standards are above average. Standards in reading are broadly average, but standards in writing remain below the national average. Children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and those in the early stages of learning English as an additional language make good progress towards the targets set out in their individual plans.
Very good relationships are established between adults and children and teaching assistants make a good contribution to children's learning. Most, but not all teaching is good because most lessons are well planned, resourced and delivered. Teachers demonstrate good subject knowledge and this helps to make learning purposeful and fun. The planning for what children will learn is good overall and ensures a wide range of first-hand and creative opportunities for most children, in their academic and personal development. Special events and activities help to make children's learning enjoyable. The school has established effective assessment systems which are developing children's understanding of what they need to do to improve their work. The headteacher, supported well by all staff provides good leadership. For example, there are well thought out action plans to improve provision and achievement across all areas. Governors play an active part in school life and are effective in their strategic role. The good leadership and strong team ethos, together with the consistent year on year raising of standards are demonstrating the school's good capacity to improve further.
Effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage
Children start in the Nursery with the knowledge and skills that are well below those expected for their age, particularly in language and communication as well as social development. They are well cared for and this enables most children to settle well into school routines. All adults welcome them warmly to the classroom and contribute to the high quality care and welfare provided. However, because of the satisfactory teaching and curriculum, most children make satisfactory, progress across the areas of learning. Consequently, standards are still well below average by the beginning of Year 1. Teaching is most effective when practical, interesting, and well-managed tasks provide a good balance of adult-directed and child-initiated activities that are enjoyed by children. Teaching does not always use assessment information well enough to plan curriculum activities, which are suitably adapted to meet all children's needs. Outdoor learning complements indoor activities well but has been significantly restricted by the recently constructed independent children's centre on site which has reduced the amount of space previously available for children to work and play. Teachers and teaching assistants work well together to provide children with good welfare and care. The majority of children work and play well together and, as a result, their behaviour is good.
Achievement and standards
Achievement is good overall. Children make good overall progress so that by the end of Year 2 standards are above the national average in mathematics, broadly average in reading and below average in writing. Attainment in 2008 was marginally better than in 2007 and has improved since the last inspection. Children who need extra help, particularly with literacy and numeracy skills, make good progress in line with their starting points. The school's data shows that the high numbers of children who arrive and leave other than at the usual times generally make good progress during their time at the school. Although standards across the school are broadly average, and above average in mathematics, the school rightly recognises that writing remains a relative weakness.
Personal development and well-being
Children say they enjoy school, confirming the views held by inspectors and the majority of parents. Good behaviour, politeness and good attitudes to work reflect the positive ethos projected by staff. Children say they feel safe and are confident that staff will deal well with any difficulties they experience. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. The values shared by children and adults alike contribute to the good relationships enjoyed throughout the school, which have helped to develop an enjoyable learning environment. Most children have a good understanding of right and wrong and are generally sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. The school's positive ethos is reflected in many personal development initiatives, such as opportunities for making decisions on school issues, individual responsibilities given to class monitors and celebration assemblies. The school has successfully promoted a culture of respect and consideration for others. Children are beginning to appreciate the diversity of the world around them. They enjoy the opportunities to work and play alongside children and adults from many different ethnic groups as well as contribute to the wider community by raising funds for charitable events. These skills, coupled with their strong mathematical ability, ensure they are well prepared for the next stage of their education at junior school.
They also develop a strong awareness of environmental matters, particularly the advantages of recycling. Despite the school's very best efforts, attendance remains satisfactory as it has been for a number of years, due to the higher than average number of absences in term time.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teachers provide interesting work that is matched well to children's abilities in most lessons. As a result, children try hard, are keen to do their best and respond well to the challenges set for them. Relationships are very good. Teachers manage children well, particularly those who sometimes show challenging behaviour. However, very occasionally a few children call out too much and do not listen with sufficient attention. Questioning is used well to check children's understanding and to develop their confidence in speaking and listening. In the weaker lessons seen, learning was rather dull and children worked together as a class for too long, although children remained on task and were well behaved. The teaching of number skills is particularly strong. Teachers develop mathematical concepts confidently and provide a good range of practical 'hands-on' activities for children to follow. They are supported well by knowledgeable and effective teaching assistants. Interactive whiteboards are used well to capture and keep children's interest. Usually, teachers' lesson planning is detailed and shows how activities are related to what children are expected to learn. Children who need extra help get good support to reach their targets.
Curriculum and other activities
Placing a strong emphasis on developing children's creativity through practical, first hand experiences, the curriculum makes effective links between subjects in order to help children make good progress. The impact of this good curriculum can be seen, for example, in the very effective planning of mathematics which, combined with good teaching, has ensured that standards in this subject have continued to rise over time. In the best planning, teachers make good use of assessment information to ensure that all tasks are sufficiently adapted for children's needs. However, this is not yet universal across the whole school particularly in writing and consequently progress is slower. The school acknowledges the need to continue to raise standards in writing and are working hard to develop extended writing opportunities in other subjects. A particular strength of the school is its personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum where children learn about the importance of good relationships, leading a healthy lifestyle as well as staying safe. A good range of activities and opportunities enriched by visits and visitors ensure that children enjoy their learning. There is a good range of well attended extra-curricular activities. Children speak enthusiastically about the range of opportunities provided such as music and signing, which is especially valuable for those who are in the early stages of learning English.
Care, guidance and support
The majority of parents view Thameside Infants as a caring, friendly, happy and inclusive school. The standard of care is excellent and parents comment on the high level of commitment of the staff. Children's sometimes very complex levels of emotional and learning needs often means considerable support is required before their progress accelerates. There are robust procedures in place to ensure that children are safe. Risks are appropriately assessed and arrangements for child protection are good. Through her extensive knowledge of individual families, the headteacher has led the way in providing excellent support for vulnerable children, which is complemented by the very good links the school has developed with outside agencies. Working closely with teachers, teaching assistants provide strong support for children with learning difficulties or disabilities whose needs are identified early. Children whose first language is not English receive carefully targeted help to enable them to access the curriculum. The introduction of a suitable range of procedures for setting academic targets and assessing children's progress has brought about some improvements in key areas of the school's development, most notably in mathematics. In the best practice, teachers keep children well informed as to how well they are doing so that most are beginning to understand what they need to do to improve their work. However, such guidance is not yet fully embedded across the whole school. The school has developed good arrangements with the partner junior school to ensure a smooth transition from Year 2 to Year 3.
Leadership and management
The headteacher has created a very caring ethos, which has enabled children to become happy learners and grow in confidence. The school is well led by the headteacher, who has a clear vision which is appropriately focused on raising standards. She knows her children well and is passionate in her commitment to provide a safe, welcoming and nurturing environment where they can build on their individual successes. Very ably supported by senior staff, she has a good knowledge of the school's strengths and weaknesses, and is appropriately focused on areas for improvement. The EYFS leader has a clear understanding of improvement issues but staffing changes have slowed development in EYFS in recent times. The school provides good opportunities for subject leaders to develop their leadership and management roles through their involvement in the annual school improvement plan audit and future development. The recent introduction of a range of procedures for monitoring teaching, setting academic targets and assessing children' progress has brought about improvements in key areas of the school's development. For example, the impact can be seen in the significant increase in attainment in mathematics by Year 2. The leadership team has made good use of pupil assessment information to ensure appropriately challenging school targets are set which are clearly linked to raising standards.
Governors are supportive of the headteacher's and leadership team's efforts to continue to improve the quality of education. They know the school well and act as a critical eye whilst holding the school to account. The school has developed good provision for global and cultural development within its community cohesion policy. Its work with both the local as well as the international community, through the British Council Comensius Partnership, has ensured that the school is set at the heart of this creative, multi-cultural community.
|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.|
|Key to judgements: grade 1 is outstanding, grade 2 good, grade 3 satisfactory, and grade 4 inadequate.||School Overall|
|How effective,efficient and inclusive is the provision of education,integrated care and any extended services in meeting the needs of learners?||2|
|Effective steps have been taken to promote improvement since the last inspection||Yes|
|How well does the school work in partnership with others to promote learners' well-being?||2|
|The capacity to make any necessary improvements||2|
|How effective is the provision in meeting the needs of children in the EYFS?||3|
|How well do children in the EYFS achieve?||3|
|How good is the overall personal development and well-being of the children?||3|
|How effectively are children in the EYFS helped to learn and develop?||3|
|How effectively is the welfare of children in the EYFS promoted?||2|
|How effectively is provision in the EYFS led and managed?||3|
|How well do learners achieve?||2|
|The standards¹ reached by learners||3|
|How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners||2|
|How well learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make progress||2|
|How good are the overall personal development and well-being of the learners?||2|
|The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||2|
|The extent to which learners adopt healthy lifestyles||2|
|The extent to which learners adopt safe practices||2|
|The extent to which learners enjoy their education||2|
|The attendance of learners||3|
|The behaviour of learners||2|
|The extent to which learners make a positive contribution to the community||2|
|How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being||2|
|How effective are teaching and learning in meeting the full range of learners' needs?||2|
|How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs and interests of learners?||2|
|How well are learners cared for, guided and supported?||2|
|How effective are leadership and management in raising achievement and supporting all learners?||2|
|How effectively leaders and managers at all levels set clear direction leading to improvement and promote high quality of care and education||2|
|How effectively leaders and managers use challenging targets to raise standards||2|
|The effectiveness of the school's self-evaluation||2|
|How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination eliminated||2|
|How well does the school contribute to community cohesion?||2|
|How effectively and efficiently resources, including staff, are deployed to achieve value for money||2|
|The extent to which governors and other supervisory boards discharge their responsibilities||2|
|Do procedures for safeguarding learners meet current government requirements?||Yes|
|Does this school require special measures?||No|
|Does this school require a notice to improve?||No|
24 October 2008
Inspection of Thameside Infants School, Grays, Essex RM17 6EF
Thank you for making us feel so welcome in your school when we visited it recently. We enjoyed meeting you, talking to you and looking at your work. You told us how much you like the things you do at school, particularly playing in the new outside play areas and how well all the adults look after you.
You go to a good school where most of you make good progress. Your headteacher and staff really care about you and provide lots of interesting things for you to do like organising school trips, and providing you with a new outdoor learning area and clubs, such as singing and music.
You told us you enjoy school and work hard to do your best. You get on well with each other and try your hardest to work and play well together. You understand how to stay safe and healthy and how to help others to have a happy time at school. We think the quality of teaching you receive is good.
We feel that there are two main things that your school could do even better. We have asked your school to make some improvements to help. These are:
We hope all of you will carry on doing your very best. Your good behaviour and positive attitudes will help your teachers work on the things they need to do.
Good luck and best wishes for the future.