The Lea Primary School and Nursery
phone: 01582 767939
headteacher: Mrs Sharon Swinson
114 pupils capacity: 172% full
100 boys 51%
100 girls 51%
Last updated: Sept. 18, 2014
Primary — Community School
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Community School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 513557, Northing: 215805
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.829, Longitude: -0.35353
- Accepting pupils
- 3—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Dec. 6, 2012
- Region › Const. › Ward
- East of England › Hitchin and Harpenden › Harpenden North
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Free school meals %
- 0.5 miles Manland Primary School AL54QW (248 pupils)
- 0.5 miles St George's School AL54TD
- 0.5 miles The King's School AL54DU (180 pupils)
- 0.5 miles St George's School AL54TD (1324 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Sir John Lawes School AL54QP
- 0.6 miles Harpenden Preparatory School AL52UE
- 0.6 miles Sir John Lawes School AL54QP (1222 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Batford Nursery School AL55HN (116 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Sauncey Wood Primary School AL55HL (183 pupils)
- 0.8 miles St Hilda's School AL52ES (162 pupils)
- 0.9 miles St Nicholas CofE VA Primary School AL52TP (155 pupils)
- 1 mile Roundwood Primary School AL53AD (355 pupils)
- 1 mile Roundwood Park School AL53AE
- 1 mile Elmfield School AL54DA
- 1 mile Roundwood Park School AL53AE (1235 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Crabtree Junior School AL55PU (257 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Crabtree Infants' School AL55PU (180 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Crabtree Infants' School AL55PU
- 1.1 mile Crabtree Junior School AL55PU
- 1.2 mile Wood End School AL53EF (494 pupils)
- 1.2 mile St Dominic Catholic Primary School AL51PF (296 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Wood End Junior Mixed School AL53EF
- 1.2 mile Wood End Infant School AL53EF
- 1.3 mile High Beeches Primary School AL55SD (240 pupils)
The Lea Primary School and
Moorland Road, Harpenden, AL5 4LE
|Inspection dates||6–7 December 2012|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| Pupils achieve well and make good progress |
Good and sometimes outstanding teaching
Teaching in the Early Years Foundation Stage
in their lessons and over time. Attainment at
the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 is
above national figures, and at the end of Key
Stage 1 has risen rapidly.
motivates pupils to do their best. Teachers,
skilfully supported by well-qualified and
experienced teaching assistants, establish a
purposeful and productive atmosphere in
enables children to make good progress. As
well as effective teaching of key skills,
children are helped to think about what they
are learning and to develop the skill of
working by themselves.
| The school is a safe and harmonious |
Leaders across the school, including governors
Parents and carers, staff and pupils are full of
community where pupils’ behaviour is
consistently good. Pupils enjoy school and feel
safe, valued and well looked after.
want the best for their pupils. They use data to
identify pupils who could be making better
progress and provide them and the staff with
support to increase their rates of progress.
praise for the school.
| Teaching is not yet strong enough to promote |
outstanding progress across school. Although
pupils’ progress has recently accelerated, the
more-able pupils do not do as well in reading
and mathematics as they do in writing,
particularly in Key Stage 1.
| Although some marking of pupils’ work is |
Teachers do not always insist on high
excellent and helps them to understand how to
improve, this is not yet consistent across the
standards of presentation of pupils’ work.
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 15 lessons, two of which were joint observations with senior leaders. They
also made short visits to some other lessons to observe pupils receiving additional support.
- The inspection team examined pupils’ work in their books and listened to pupils read. They also
attended the school assemblies, and observed pupils’ Christmas performances.
- Meetings were held with groups of pupils, two governors, including the Chair of the Governing
Body, senior and middle leaders and a representative from the local authority.
- Inspectors observed the school’s work and looked at documentation including policies and
improvement plans, and documentation relating to staff development, pupils’ achievement,
teaching, the curriculum, behaviour, attendance and safeguarding.
- Inspectors took account of the 56 parents’ and carers’ responses to the on-line questionnaire
(Parent View), discussions with parents and carers, and the views of staff in 11 staff
questionnaires returned to inspectors.
|Raminder Arora, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Jackie Easter||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- The school is smaller than average.
- The proportion of pupils for whom the school receives the pupil premium (additional government
funding) is below the national average.
- A much higher proportion than found nationally is from minority ethnic groups. One-fifth of
these pupils are learning English as an additional language.
- The proportion of pupils supported by school action is below average, and for those on school
action plus or with a statement of special educational needs is much higher than average.
- The proportion of pupils joining or leaving the school other than at the usual times is higher than
- Around 11% of pupils come from families who belong to the locally based ‘Youth with a Mission’
and who do missionary work across the world. Their children attend school for varying periods of
the school year.
- The Early Years Foundation Stage includes a part-time Nursery and a Reception class. The
Nursery offers the flexibility of attending for three full days or five mornings a week.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations
for pupils’ attainment and progress.
- The governing body manages a breakfast club.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Improve the quality of teaching from good to outstanding and further accelerate pupils’ progress
making sure the teachers have a clear understanding of what outstanding learning looks like
ensuring that all teachers’ marking shows pupils how to improve, and that pupils are given the
chance to improve their work by following the advice contained in marking
ensuring that pupils are helped to improve the presentation of their work and handwriting.
- Make sure that pupils’ progress in reading and mathematics is consistently good or better by:
strengthening the systematic teaching of phonics (letters and sounds) and encouraging pupils
to read more widely and for pleasure
setting real-life, problem-solving tasks that are closely matched to the wide range of pupils’
abilities, experience and knowledge of mathematics.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Children enter the Early Years Foundation Stage with skills that are generally below those
expected for their age. By the end of Reception, they are working at average levels. They
achieve well as a result of the recent improvements that have raised the quality of teaching in
the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- Standards at the end of Year 2 were well above the national average in 2012. This was a
marked improvement over previous years. Attainment by the end of Year 6 has improved over
the last few years and is now a little above average overall. Pupils make particularly good
progress in writing; many are on course to reach higher levels than those expected for their age.
- Pupils requiring extra support are identified early and receive skilful support in lessons and
through one-to-one or small-group teaching to ensure that they make good progress. Those
joining the school later than at the usual times catch up and make expected progress due to
well-targeted support and the good checks made on their learning.
- Pupils for whom the school receives pupil premium funding and those who speak English as an
additional language also make consistently good progress. This is because of good teaching,
teachers’ knowledge of each pupil’s needs, and an atmosphere where pupils are encouraged to
do their best. Pupils from the local ‘Youth with a Mission’ families also achieve well through
effectively organised extra support.
- Most pupils develop their literacy skills well, and use them effectively in all subjects. Those who
find reading more difficult do not consistently apply their knowledge of the sounds that letters
make. Pupils enjoy reading and can recall favourite stories and authors. By Year 6, most pupils
are confident and fluent readers, but they do not read much for pleasure or read a wide variety
- While pupils are generally confident in their number work, those capable of doing harder work
are not always fully stretched in their ability to apply their skills in everyday problem solving.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teachers plan interesting and enjoyable lessons in which pupils are encouraged to play an active
part. As a result, pupils pay attention, work hard and learn well.
- Speaking and listening skills are developed well. In the Reception class, for example, when
viewing their photos on the interactive whiteboard, children talked interestingly about the work
they had been engaged in earlier.
- The teaching of phonics, although regular and systematic, does not provide pupils with enough
practice to use and apply their knowledge of letters and sounds learnt in the lesson.
- Teachers carefully track all pupils’ progress through regularly assessing what they can and
cannot do, and use this information to plan their lessons. Pupils who fall behind are quickly given
extra help to catch up, particularly in numeracy and literacy.
- The teaching of reading and writing is well supported, and pupils enjoy the activities designed to
help develop these skills. As a result, pupils communicate ideas effectively. For example, in the
Year 1 class, pupils enjoyed creating the start of their own stories through the group role play of
‘the butcher, the baker, the candle-stick maker’.
- Some teachers’ marking is excellent and gives pupils a clear idea of how to improve. Pupils are
then given the chance to improve their work by following the advice contained in marking. This
good practice, however, is not carried out consistently by all teachers.
- Not enough attention is given to encouraging consistently good presentation of work. Some
pupils find it difficult to produce neatly formed joined-up writing.
- Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs are given good support in lessons by
teachers and by other adults. They encourage these pupils to think for themselves through clear
explanations and skilful questioning.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||is good|
- Pupils consistently behave well and they are kept safe. They are courteous and well mannered,
and talk confidently to visitors.
- Pupils have very positive attitudes towards learning and concentrate well. In lessons, they talk
happily about their work, listening sensibly to each other’s opinions and showing respect for
- Pupils feel safe and have a good awareness of how to avoid dangers at all times. The
importance of staying safe when using computers is well understood.
- A few pupils with challenging behaviour receive very good support so that they learn self-
control. Adults show good understanding of the needs and use well-planned intervention to
support pupils displaying behavioural or sometimes emotional difficulties.
- The school successfully promotes equality of opportunity and ensures that there is no
discrimination. Pupils from different backgrounds play together happily at break times and they
support each other very well in lessons.
- Pupils are proud of their school and keen to do well. They thoroughly enjoy learning and this is
reflected in their good progress. The rate of attendance is average and improving.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The determined leadership and high expectations of the headteacher mean that staff, governors,
pupils, parents and carers, united in their drive to improve standards in all areas of the school’s
work, have succeeded in improving the school’s effectiveness.
- Lessons are checked regularly and feedback is provided against agreed criteria. The staff live up
to the high expectations, and are appreciative of the guidance they receive and the opportunities
provided for their professional development.
- Senior leaders ensure that responsibilities for checking and analysing information on pupils’
progress are shared more widely among teachers. This helps them to play an active part in
driving improvements and to understand that they are responsible for the progress of the pupils
- The school benefits well from partnerships, for example, the Harpenden Consortium’s training
opportunities for all staff. Continuous support is also provided by the local authority for
monitoring, consultancy and advice, for example, in improving teaching and learning.
- The school curriculum is relevant and engaging. Cross-curricular links and a variety of interesting
topics enthuse pupils to do their best. Additionally, museum visits, theatre groups and
workshops make learning exciting and enhance pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
- Safeguarding, including pupils’ health and welfare, is given a high priority. Detailed risk
assessments and emergency planning are kept up to date, and fire procedures are tested
regularly. The trained teaching assistants on duty deal with all minor accidents quickly,
reassuring and reminding pupils of the ways in which they can keep safe.
- The school’s view of its strengths and weaknesses is accurate. Self-evaluation systems are well
established and rigorous. Levels of attainment have risen steadily in recent years and the school
is moving forward strongly on several fronts, indicating a good capacity for sustained
- The governance of the school:
Governors are well involved in the life of the school because they make regular visits to gain a
better first-hand understanding of how well the school is working. This helps to ensure that all
staff maintain a tight focus on improving the quality of teaching and pupils’ progress. They
ensure good systems to check teachers’ performance and have very clear understanding of
the school’s strengths, how well pupils are performing and what more needs to be done to
raise their achievement. Governors use information about pupils’ progress effectively to ask
demanding questions of school leaders. Governors make sure that all financial resources are
used well. For example, the small amount of additional funding from the pupil premium is
used appropriately towards the additional support, visits and various experiences to enhance
their learning. The impact of this funding is evaluated well.
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 employment.
|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 Ofsted inspectors.
|Unique reference number||117327|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Primary|
|Age range of pupils||3–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||168|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||18 January 2010|
|Telephone number||01582 767939|
|Fax number||01582 462945|