The Meadows Primary School
Headteacher: Mrs Fran Harding
189 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||109010|
|Local Authority||South Gloucestershire|
|Inspection date||15 July 2009|
|Reporting inspector||Christine Huard|
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||Primary|
|Age range of pupils||4–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number on roll|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||16 May 2006|
Date of previous funded early education|
|Not previously inspected|
|Date of previous childcare inspection||Not previously inspected|
|School address||Bath Road|
|Bristol BS30 6HS|
|Telephone number||01179 322203|
|Fax number||01179 326919|
|Inspection date||15 July 2009|
© Crown copyright 2009
The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors, who evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following issues:
Evidence was gathered from an examination of the school's documentation, parents' questionnaires and pupils' work, observations of pupils in classes, around the school and in the playground, as well as interviews with subject leaders, pupils, governors and parents.
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 in its self-evaluation, are not justified. These have been included where appropriate in this report.
This small primary school is located in a village on the outskirts of Bath. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is similar to the national average but they are unequally distributed through year groups. The school has very few pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds and none at an early stage of learning English. Provision for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage is made in the Reception class. The headteacher took up her post in April 2008.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a satisfactory and rapidly improving school. It has suffered considerable disruption of leadership and management, and numerous staff changes over the last two years. This resulted in a fall in standards and, as the school freely acknowledges, a loss of momentum. However, this situation is rapidly being resolved. Since September 2008 a new, highly effective senior leadership team has been in place, led by a dynamic and purposeful headteacher. Weaknesses were quickly identified and priorities set for improvement. The most important of these was to halt the decline in standards, particularly in the current Years 1, 2 and 6, and to give pupils the support they needed in order to be able to achieve at least satisfactorily. These immediate aims have been realised with the support of the dedicated and committed staff. A number of pupils, particularly those in Years 2 and 6, have made very good progress during this year which means that standards are now broadly average and pupils are achieving satisfactorily over time. Subject leaders have carried out a thorough audit of their areas and accurately identified areas for development in order to build on and sustain the considerable improvements that have already been made. These accurately identify that pupils do not currently have enough opportunities to carry out investigational and experimental work in mathematics and science, and standards of reading are not as good as they should be throughout the school. Higher attaining pupils are also not given the challenges they require in order to achieve their full potential. The very good improvements made this year as a result of actions taken demonstrate that the school has a good capacity for further improvement.
Children get a good start at the Meadows. The Reception class has a lively and inspiring curriculum which enables the children to make good progress. In Years 1 to 6, staff have risen well to the challenge of providing a curriculum which is creative and builds on the interests and needs of the individual pupils. It is broad and balanced and elements such as 'Forest School' provide an extra dimension which enhances pupils' independence and stretches their imagination and thinking skills. The pupils respond to this with enthusiasm and chatter eagerly about their sessions spent outside. Great emphasis is placed on ensuring all activities are safe and all pupils, from the youngest in Reception to the oldest in Year 6, understand the do's and don'ts of their outdoor education. This care reflects the good standards of support and guidance for the pupils which prevail throughout the school. All child protection and safeguarding procedures were fully in place at the time of the inspection and pupils say that they feel confident that they can talk to any member of staff if they have a problem. Pupils receive good guidance for both their personal and academic development. Pupils, when asked, could all say what their targets were and said that they receive good help from their teachers about how these can be achieved.
Pupils thoroughly enjoy school. 'This school has character,' exclaimed one pupil when asked why he enjoyed it so much. Others explained further, 'The teachers always listen to you and take your opinions on board,' 'It's easy to make friends because it's small, everybody welcomes you.' Their pleasure in school is reflected in their good attendance. A comprehensive programme for their personal, social and health education contributes effectively to their good personal development. They are lively and energetic and have a good understanding of how to stay healthy. The vegetables pupils grow in the school garden are eaten with great relish and enjoyment. Pupils understand how to stay safe. They have a very good sense of Internet safety and discuss the dangers of smoking and drug abuse maturely and sensibly. Pupils are thoughtful and reflective, assertive and confident. Their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. Behaviour in and around the school is good and all the play spaces are happy and harmonious places. Pupils willingly take on responsibilities in school but also in a wider, global sense and eagerly raise money for charities such as Water Aid. Satisfactory literacy and numeracy and good interpersonal skills ensure they are getting a satisfactory grounding for the future.
Teachers do all they can to try and ensure that all pupils are engaged and motivated and that they enjoy their learning. However, the quality of teaching is patchy across the school and ranges from outstanding to satisfactory. In a Year 2 mathematics lesson, all the children were fully engaged and bubbling with enthusiasm as they tackled fractions using 'One Legged Jack's' pieces of eight to help them identify halves and quarters, equivalent fractions and fractions of whole amounts. In this lesson, all pupils were appropriately challenged, motivated by the task and consequently achieving extremely well. However, this is not always the case. In some lessons teachers talk for too long and give pupils too much information. This means that the pace of the lesson is much slower and pupils do not have sufficient time to learn and discover for themselves. Teachers' planning invariably identifies tasks to meet the needs of all pupils. In practice, this does not always happen. Whilst lower attaining pupils and those with learning difficulties are well supported, more able pupils do not consistently receive sufficient challenge and the tasks they are set are too easy.
Staff and governors know how well the school is doing. The school has set challenging targets for future development but they are achievable. The school uses data well to check its performance and the very good monitoring system ensures that the quality of teaching and learning is effectively evaluated and specific training needs identified. Governors regularly visit the school and they check for themselves the success of such projects as the Forest School. They promote community cohesion satisfactorily but the school acknowledges that there is more to be done to set up effective links nationally. They have a good perception of the need for pupils to understand that they are growing up in a culturally diverse society. Visits to a mosque and synagogue demonstrate this, but there is more to be done. The school development plan is good and purposeful, and reflects the concerted efforts to drive this school forward. Parents are extremely supportive of the school. They appreciate its ethos and, as one said, 'It has a great community spirit.' However, some parents also rightly feel that communication is not as effective as it could be and they are told too late about events or school closures, making it difficult for them always to support their children's needs. Overall, the parental voice is overwhelmingly positive. Many echo the sentiments of another who said, 'This is a wonderful school, the children get a really varied experience with the Forest School and conservation area, my child is extremely happy here.'
Effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage
Children join the Reception class with the skills that are slightly below those expected for their age in reading, writing, calculation and knowledge and understanding of the world. Children make good progress and reach broadly average standards by the time they join Year 1. Children's personal, social and emotional development is good, and the encouragement and guidance they receive helps them to become happy and independent learners. Children behave well and learn to play with and help each other. Teaching is lively and stimulating and enables the children to learn effectively. The curriculum is exciting and provides activities across all the areas of learning. There is a good balance between those activities led by the teacher and those that children choose for themselves. The Forest School initiative gives them a wide range of stimulating outdoor experiences which they approach with great enthusiasm. A wide range of activities is also provided in the immediate outside area and the learning environment here is as stimulating and exciting as that inside. The care and attention given to children's welfare is good. The provision is led and managed well. Staff have a clear understanding of how well the provision meets children's needs and how it could be improved still further.
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.|
|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?||3|
|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?||2|
|How well do children in the EYFS achieve?||2|
|How good is the overall personal development and well-being of the children?||2|
|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|
|How well do learners achieve?||3|
|The standards¹ reached by learners||3|
|How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners||3|
|How well learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make progress||3|
|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||2|
|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||3|
|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?||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||3|
|How well does the school contribute to community cohesion?||3|
|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|
16 July 2009
Inspection of The Meadows Primary school, Bitton BS34 6HS
Thank you for the warm welcome you gave us when we visited your school. You certainly seem to be very happy and it was good to hear how you enjoy your work and all activities in which you are involved. Your school gives you a satisfactory education and is working hard to make it even better.
This is what we thought about your school.
These are some things that we have asked the school to improve.
We are glad you enjoy your school and hope you will continue to work hard.
Very best wishes,
Mrs Christine Huard