The inspection was carried out by one Additional Inspector. The inspector evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following issues: • standards and progress, especially in Key Stage 1 • the quality of provision in meeting the needs of all pupils • how well leadership and management are addressing shortcomings • provision and progress in Reception. Evidence was gathered from government data analysis (RAISEonline), the school’s self-evaluation, lesson observations, pupils’ work, discussion with governors, the School Improvement Partner (SIP), the headteacher and pupils, and scrutiny of parent questionnaires, policies, monitoring reports, school data and other documents. Other aspects of the school’s work were not investigated in detail, but inspectors found no evidence to suggest that the school’s own assessments, as given in its self-evaluation, were not justified and these have been included where appropriate in this report.
Description of the school
Manor Coalpit Heath is an average sized Church of England primary school. Most pupils are from White British backgrounds and a very small minority are from other ethnic groups. There has been some staff upheaval in the last two years and the deputy headteacher is currently on long-term leave.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Manor Coalpit Heath is a good school where pupils thrive and enjoy every aspect of their education. When pupils join the school their attainment is broadly average but, from Reception onwards, they make good progress and achieve well, so that, by the time they leave, standards are above average, particularly in reading, writing and science. The school has a remarkably attractive and stimulating environment where inviting displays and work areas encourage pupils to take part in a wide range of activities. Pupils are often enthralled by the tasks they are engaged in and are keen to describe what they have learned. The teaching is good because lessons are well planned to meet pupils' different needs, and lively enthusiastic presentations engage pupils from the start. Lessons are linked well to pupils' individual targets, and pupils of all abilities do well. Despite this, assessment to take learning forward is not completely accurate so that, in a few lessons, some pupils' targets are not sufficiently challenging. Information is collected and monitored regularly to help guide pupils. Nevertheless, because it is not always reliable enough to ensure that the targets set are the right ones for all pupils, progress is inconsistent. This is most noticeable in mathematics where, although achievement overall is good, a significant minority of pupils make satisfactory rather than good progress. There is strong encouragement for pupils to learn independently and to work in groups from the youngest ages, and this leads to confident mature young people who act very responsibly. As a result, they make an outstanding contribution to the school and wider community. For example, pupils willingly help with daily tasks, actively participate via the school council to improve provision, undertake community projects such as the 'Robotics Challenge' and represent the school during musical performances. Pupils generally behave well and most have excellent attitudes to their work, finding lessons the most interesting part of school. Attendance is, therefore, good and the school has been successful in raising attendance further recently. A large majority of parents are pleased with all aspects of the school, typically reporting that they are 'very happy with the standards set and the teaching provided'. A few parents have expressed concern about restless behaviour in the current Year 6 cohort. This does occasionally slow learning or limit enjoyment for a few, but pupils continue to do well. The school uses a good range of measures to improve behaviour in this group. Parents' concerns are also linked to unavoidable staffing instability over the last two years. The headteacher has steered the school effectively during this difficult period so that the quality of teaching and the progress pupils make have remained good overall. Strong leadership and management, by senior leaders and governors, have led to continuous improvement. The school's self-evaluation is accurate and provides a clear view of where the strengths lie and what needs improving. Boys' writing, for example, was identified as an area of weakness and, through providing more practical activities linked to their interests, this has been successfully addressed. Some underachievement for pupils aged five to seven has also been reversed. The capacity to continue improving is good. The way data is presented, however, is not accessible enough to enable class teachers to easily identify which groups are not doing as well as they could. The school does not yet use a computer system to help them with this task and recognises this as an important next step. The outstanding curriculum is exceptionally rich, packed with exciting visits, visitors and projects to bring learning to life. Pupils find this highly motivating which is why they make such good progress. The curriculum ensures that pupils understand how to keep safe and stay healthy and, as a result, many of them eat more fruit and vegetables and take more exercise than they did before. A few parents would like to see more sport, although pupils have plenty of opportunities for exercise. The curriculum also supports good spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Procedures to keep pupils safe are robust and there is negligible bullying. The school makes good use of other agencies and organisations to support pupils' personal development and welfare and to extend the curriculum. With good literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills, excellent ability to work independently and in teams and strong social skills, pupils are well prepared for the future ahead.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Children do well in Reception and make good progress. When they join, their attainments are broadly average but, because of skilled teaching and an outstanding curriculum, children learn effectively and securely meet national expectations in every area of learning by the end of Reception. This enables them to continue their learning journey successfully through into Year 1. Relationships are of very high quality encouraging pupils to work confidently and share their views. The Reception curriculum provides a wealth of interesting opportunities for children to experience all the areas of learning and initiate activities for themselves. The high quality environment is like an 'Aladin's cave' of exciting objects and displays. The Forest School plays a large part in meeting the requirement for outdoor learning. Despite a few parents expressing concern at its relevance, the Forest School contributes significantly to all areas of learning, especially literacy, numeracy and knowledge of the world. Phonics are taught exceptionally well and children show a well established understanding of the sounds they have learned. As in the rest of the school, the way data is presented makes it difficult to see how well different groups of children are doing so that provision can, if necessary, be adapted to meet changing needs more quickly. The Reception is well led and high quality induction ensures that children settle quickly. As one parent typically reported, 'I couldn't have asked for a better start to school for my child, who is very happy and learning loads.'
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve teaching and learning in mathematics so that more pupils make good progress.
- Improve the accuracy of assessing pupils' progress so that individual targets are sufficiently challenging for all pupils.
- Improve the way data on pupils' progress is collated so that class teachers can identify and address any underachievement for particular groups more easily.