The Bellbird Primary School

The Bellbird Primary School
Link Road
Sawston
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire
CB223GB

Phone:01223 833216
Headteacher: Mrs Linda Corrall

 

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258 pupils, Mixed

133 boys
age
number
4a4b4c5678910
125 girls
age
number
4a4b4c5678910

Ofsted report


The Bellbird Primary School


Inspection Report



Unique Reference Number135132
Local AuthorityCambridgeshire
Inspection number329033
Inspection date30 April 2009
Reporting inspectorColin Henderson

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 schoolPrimary
School categoryCommunity
Age range of pupils4–11
Gender of pupilsMixed
Number on roll
School (total)250
Government funded early education
provision for children aged 3 to the end
of the EYFS
0
Childcare provision for children
aged 0 to 3 years
14
Appropriate authorityThe governing body
ChairMrs Catherine Cleary
HeadteacherMrs Linda Corrall
Date of previous school inspection Not previously inspected
Date of previous funded early education
inspection
Not previously inspected
Date of previous childcare inspection Not previously inspected
School addressLink Road
Sawston, Cambridge
Cambridgeshire CB22 3GB
Telephone number01223 833216
Fax number01223 508754

Age group4–11
Inspection date30 April 2009
Inspection number329033

Inspection report The Bellbird Primary School, 30 April 2009


© Crown copyright 2009

Website: ofsted.gov.uk



Introduction

The inspection was carried out by two additional inspectors. The inspectors evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following issues: current achievement in the school, the effectiveness of the new leadership team, the quality of teaching and learning, the use of assessment and tracking procedures and the effectiveness of the Foundation Stage. Evidence was gathered from observation of lessons, scrutiny of pupils' work, discussion with pupils, the staff, and some governors, and an analysis of school documents and parent questionnaires. Other aspects of the school's work were not investigated in detail but the inspectors found no evidence to suggest that the school's own assessments, as given its self-evaluation, were not justified. These have been included in the report where appropriate.


Description of the school


The Bellbird Primary School opened in September 2007 following the amalgamation of two local schools. It is located on two separate sites and demolition and building works are currently underway to establish new premises. There has been a high level of staff change. Children come from the local village and from a broad range of social backgrounds. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is below average and four per cent speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils who find learning more difficult is broadly average for a school of this size. The attainment of children who start in the Early Years Foundation Stage is below national expectations for their age. A playgroup on the lower school site and an after school club on the upper school site are run by management committees appointed by the governing body.


Key for inspection grades


Grade 1Outstanding
Grade 2Good
Grade 3Satisfactory
Grade 4Inadequate



Overall effectiveness of the school

Grade: 3


The Bellbird Primary has made an encouraging start, given the building difficulties and many staff changes. This is valued highly by pupils and their parents and is reflected in the many positive comments, such as 'coped well with the very considerable challenges' and 'a good family-feel despite the split site difficulties'. It provides a satisfactory education for its pupils and rightly sees itself as an improving school. The purposeful headteacher provides a clear direction and has been particularly effective, in such a short time, in establishing a team ethos and a strong sense of community. The school knows that, when it opened, the older pupils were not making enough progress. The leadership and management are developing effective procedures that are beginning to improve achievement and raise standards, although these are not yet consistently established in every class.

Pupils' personal development is good. They talk excitedly about their school and particularly the opportunities to contribute to its development; for example, school councillors explained how pupils helped decide its name. They behave excellently and show respect and tolerance in their relationships with others. They understand how to adopt healthy and safe lifestyles, showing a good awareness of traffic and building dangers when walking between the two sites. Pupils are attentive in lessons and are keen to succeed. They develop their key basic skills satisfactorily, although opportunities for them to gain a better understanding of the world of work are limited.

Pupils' achievement is satisfactory overall. It is good in Years 1 and 2 because of good teaching and pupils' enthusiasm to learn. This builds successfully on the good start in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Pupils' achievement in Years 3 to 6 is satisfactory overall as teaching is not always consistently good enough to ensure that all pupils achieve well, particularly those with previously high attainment. Pupils who find learning difficult receive effective individual support and guidance and achieve well. The school helps those from minority ethnic backgrounds to settle well, for example, by 'buddying up' with another pupil and providing extra support and guidance. They make satisfactory progress overall in their learning. Year 2 pupils attain standards that are above average. They are broadly average by the end of Year 6. The headteacher, with the help of her deputy and other key staff, is developing procedures to track each pupil's progress carefully and build up detailed assessment information. They are using it with increasing success to identify pupils who are not progressing as well as expected. Extra support is given by effective teaching assistants. Some pupils are offered 'drop in' sessions before school, booster classes and individual tuition sessions. This is improving standards. The school is on track to achieve challenging above average end-of-year targets for the current Year 2, although not for Year 6. Assessment and tracking processes are being used increasingly to set challenging achievement targets for each pupil. Procedures to evaluate rigorously their progress towards them are being established, although not fully in place.

Teachers manage their classes effectively and ensure that pupils stay focused on their work. They plan lessons in detail, although their expectations of what pupils achieve in lessons are not consistently high enough. Teaching does not always ensure the use of more challenging questions that require higher attaining pupils to apply their skills and knowledge and attain higher standards. The headteacher, with the support of external consultants, monitors teaching and learning each term. They provide training on areas for development and as a result there is no unsatisfactory teaching. Good practice is highlighted and shared although opportunities for key staff to evaluate its impact on pupils' achievement and target improvement are not developed enough.

The supportive, caring ethos that the headteacher and her staff have quickly established is underpinning much of what is successful in the school. Pupils feel valued and eagerly contribute to improving the school, for example, their ideas to extend the range of extra-curricular clubs have resulted in a satisfactory curriculum and range of additional activities. Staff provide good personal care and support to their pupils. The guidance to help them to improve their work is less effective. Some teachers make good use of group targets and help pupils to assess how well they are doing. They encourage pupils to share ideas and help each other to improve their work. However, this good practice is not consistently evident across the school. Older pupils are not sufficiently confident in knowing what they have to do next to make their work better.

The determination and focus of the headteacher have encouraged a good sense of community cohesion. Strong links with other local schools and community organisations contribute well to pupils' learning. She has established an effective leadership team and increased the opportunities for other key staff to focus on what needs improving in their areas of responsibility. However, because of staffing changes, this is still in the early stages of development. Governors have been particularly supportive and active during the amalgamation. For example, they worked with the headteacher to gain additional funding to ensure that the pupils currently in the school are well provided for. Governors are increasingly involved in checking how well the school is doing, although this is not developed fully. The school is improving as a result of the headteacher and her increasingly effective staff team. It has a good capacity to improve.


Effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage

Grade: 2


Provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage is good. From a below expected level when they start the Reception year, most children have 'caught up' by the time they move into Year 1. This is because the teaching by all adults is good and activities are well planned and interesting. Assessment of the children is thorough and ongoing. This means that the interesting and wide ranging activities are well matched to the children's abilities. No time is wasted and there is a good balance between activities which are led by adults and those that the children choose to do themselves. All adults have high expectations about what the children can achieve and this is shown in the rapid development of their excellent personal and social skills. Adults quite rightly place a high emphasis on good listening and speaking skills. As a result children can concentrate for longer periods of time and have more meaningful conversations, something many can't do when they first join the school.

Children also do well because of the good relationships which exist between them and the adults who teach them. They are encouraged to be independent and are taught the skills to be able to achieve this. Children are enthusiastic and eager to learn. Leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation Stage are good. The leader has a very good understanding of what children of this age should be learning and has created an environment in which it can happen. Although there is limited access to the outdoor area for the children to play and practise their skills, adults have tried to overcome this by having regular timetabled time for the whole class to be outside.


What the school should do to improve further


  • Improve pupils' standards by raising teachers' expectations, particularly of more able pupils, to a consistently high level in each class.
  • Ensure all pupils know how well they are achieving and what they need to do next to raise the standard of their work.
  • Increase the involvement of other key staff and governors in checking how well pupils are achieving and in identifying areas for school improvement.
  • Develop further the procedures to evaluate pupils' progress towards challenging targets set each year.
  • A small proportion of the schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory but which have areas of underperformance will receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.


    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.

    Annex A

    Inspection judgements


    Key to judgements: grade 1 is outstanding, grade 2 good, grade 3 satisfactory, and grade 4 inadequate.School Overall


    Overall effectiveness


    How effective,efficient and inclusive is the provision of education,integrated care and any extended services in meeting the needs of learners?3
    Effective steps have been taken to promote improvement since the last inspectionNA
    How well does the school work in partnership with others to promote learners' well-being?3
    The capacity to make any necessary improvements2

    Effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage


    How effective is the provision in meeting the needs of children in the EYFS?2
    How well do children in the EYFS achieve?2
    How good is the overall personal development and well-being of the children?1
    How effectively are children in the EYFS helped to learn and develop?2
    How effectively is the welfare of children in the EYFS promoted?2
    How effectively is provision in the EYFS led and managed?2

    Achievement and standards


    How well do learners achieve?3
    The standards¹ reached by learners3
    How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners3
    How well learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make progress2

    Personal development and well-being


    How good are the overall personal development and well-being of the learners?2
    The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development2
    The extent to which learners adopt healthy lifestyles2
    The extent to which learners adopt safe practices2
    The extent to which learners enjoy their education2
    The attendance of learners2
    The behaviour of learners1
    The extent to which learners make a positive contribution to the community2
    How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being3

    The quality of provision


    How effective are teaching and learning in meeting the full range of learners' needs?3
    How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs and interests of learners?3
    How well are learners cared for, guided and supported?3

    Leadership and management


    How effective are leadership and management in raising achievement and supporting all learners?3
    How effectively leaders and managers at all levels set clear direction leading to improvement and promote high quality of care and education3
    How effectively leaders and managers use challenging targets to raise standards3
    The effectiveness of the school's self-evaluation3
    How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination eliminated3
    How well does the school contribute to community cohesion?2
    How effectively and efficiently resources, including staff, are deployed to achieve value for money2
    The extent to which governors and other supervisory boards discharge their responsibilities3
    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


    1 Grade 1 - Exceptionally and consistently high; Grade 2 - Generally above average with none significantly below average; Grade 3 - Broadly average to below average; Grade 4 - Exceptionally low.

    Annex B

    Text from letter to pupils explaining the findings of the inspection


    1 May 2009

    Dear Children

    Inspection of The Bellbird Primary School, Sawston CB22 3GB

    Thank you for making us feel so welcome when we visited your school recently. We enjoyed talking to you about what you do in school, looking at your work and watching you learn. You clearly enjoy your new school and, together with your parents, think that it is a happy and friendly place - and we agree.

    We were pleased to see how well you get on together. Your behaviour is excellent and this means that teachers can get on with the job of helping you to learn. It was interesting to talk to school councillors about how you are helping to set up your new school, such as helping to choose its name. You told us that you enjoy your work and the range of extra-curricular activities, especially the music and sport. We think that many of you learn well and Mrs. Corrall and her staff are working hard to try to help you to learn as well as possible. Many of you enjoy the good teaching you receive in some of your lessons. We have asked Mrs Corrall and her staff to try to help you learn even better by making more of your lessons interesting and challenging, especially those of you who are good at learning. Some of you are getting a better understanding of how to make your work better and are keen to achieve your learning targets. We have asked the teachers to help all of you to understand what you need to do to improve your work and would encourage you to try really hard to achieve as well as you can. We have also asked your school to continue to track your progress carefully and check how well you are doing regularly to help anyone who is not doing as well as they could. We would also like them to provide more opportunities for teachers who are responsible for particular subjects to see where they can help you achieve even better.

    Thank you again for helping us to find out about your school and we hope that you will continue to be happy and to work hard.

    Best wishes

    Colin Henderson

    Lead inspector