The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
The school is a little smaller than most other primary schools nationally. The majority of pupils are of White British background. Children enter the Foundation Stage with the standards below that expected for four-year-olds. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is above the national average and the number of pupils with a statement of educational need is below the national average. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic groups is above average, as is the percentage for whom English is an additional language. There are 42 pupils who receive support for the acquisition of English language skills.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a satisfactory school. Recently, there have been a number of changes and constraints within subject leader positions and this has impacted negatively on the school's provision. Subject leaders are now securely in place and processes are more robust to ensure pupils make progress in their learning. Consequently, the school is improving many aspects of its work.
Children make good progress in the Foundation Stage and satisfactory progress throughout the rest of the school. Standards are broadly average overall. Pupils who speak English as an additional language make similarly satisfactory progress as other pupils as a result of the support they are given. The school has taken action to improve upon recent results, including developing the skills of teachers and the increasingly accurate self-evaluation of its work to improve learning. Pupils' learning opportunities are enhanced through a range of visitors and themed weeks, such as anti bullying week. However, knowledge and skills learnt in one subject are not extended or developed within other curriculum areas. Links with others strengthen learning, for example, the school in Bohlokong, South Africa, helps pupils to appreciate differences around the world. The school uses external expertise, for example, the local authority support teacher for pupils with English as an additional language, to focus on pupils' language skills.
Pupils enjoy school and feel safe within an environment where relationships are trusted and strong. Pupils are very aware of the need to be healthy and readily talk of how they achieve this. Pupils enjoy the range of clubs provided in which they keenly participate, for example, the dance club. Behaviour in and around the school is good and staff demonstrate good management of pupils in lessons and in the playground. Pupils play cooperatively in the playground, sharing equipment well, and look after one another in a supportive and mature manner. Where behaviour is less good, it is often due to tasks lacking challenge.
The quality of teaching has improved and this has raised standards and improved progress. The staff's knowledge of the pupils and the attention paid to their personal development has supported their academic work. Teaching and non-teaching staff adapt lessons to meet the needs of pupils who are new to learning English. Consequently, pupils at an early stage of learning English progress satisfactorily in written and spoken English. Although lessons typically have a brisk pace and pupils are well behaved, the opportunity to use skills from one subject to another is limited. The good system for assessment and setting targets is not fully used to help pupils understand what they need to do to make good progress. This means that a small minority of pupils' individual needs are not consistently catered for. As a consequence, the level of challenge is is not sustained in all subjects for the more able pupils. This leads to their limited progress, particularly in English.
The headteacher has a clear understanding of the changes necessary to keep the school improving. Staff work willingly and are committed to moving the school forward. They understand the need for greater analysis and better use of the range of information available to prevent underachievement in the future. Governors are involved and interested in all areas of the school's work and know the priorities for the future. The school has shown improvement since the last inspection and has the good capacity to develop further.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
The Foundation Unit, including a Nursery and Reception class, is a lively and stimulating area for children to work in. Although children's attainment on entry is below expectation for their age, good and sometimes outstanding teaching ensures they make good progress. When they leave the Reception class, the majority of children reach the standards expected for their age.
The good curriculum provides children with experiences in all areas of learning with a focus on developing language and social skills. Staff knowledge of the children is very good and relationships within the unit are supportive. Children behave well, are happy and motivated to learn. A cohesive team ensures children have tasks that are matched to their needs. Assessment procedures carefully and accurately track developing skills and knowledge. Staff work hard to make the best of the outdoor learning area, which is barely adequate, and this area limits the children's physical development.
What the school should do to improve further
- Raise standards and improve progress, particularly for the more able.
- Use assessment to set challenging targets so that work is more closely matched to ability.
- Provide opportunities for pupils to use and apply skills and knowledge learnt in English, mathematics and information and communication technology (ICT) in other curriculum areas.
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.
Achievement and standards
Pupils achieve satisfactorily overall. Children start school with attainment levels below that expected for their age in all areas of learning. Children's learning is rapid because of good teaching and a carefully planned curriculum. Provision in the Foundation Stage helps children settle quickly and links between home and school effectively support the children and their learning. Year 2 test results from 2007 showed that standards were below the national average, but these have improved. Standards seen during the inspection in English and mathematics in Year 2 are average. Pupils with English as an additional language reach average standards through effective and focused interventions, particularly by support staff. They use a range of strategies to help pupils to progress and improve their work. Standards have improved in Years 3 to 6 and currently are satisfactory and improving. However, there is more to be done to ensure current standards are maintained and raised further. Progress seen during the inspection, through Years 1 to 6, is satisfactory. This is due to improved and more effective teaching, although teaching does not sufficiently stretch the more able pupils. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make satisfactory progress. Progress of pupils with English as an additional language is satisfactory. The improving teaching contributes to this progress.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils have many good opportunities to develop their social skills. They have the opportunity to become school councillors, playground 'buddies' and play leaders for the 'huff and puff' activities at lunchtime. Pupils are proud to be members of the school council but feel they do not meet regularly enough to be very effective. Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good overall, showing they know the difference between right and wrong and the importance of tolerance and respect for others. However, pupils' understanding and knowledge about other faiths and cultures is limited and unsure. Pupils are well aware of what a healthy lifestyle means. They talk of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, taking plenty of exercise and of the harmful effects of smoking. If approached by a stranger, they know what to do. The majority of pupils have positive attitudes towards learning and particularly enjoy practical lessons. In lessons where teachers make learning exciting, pupils are well behaved, but when the tasks set do not provide appropriate challenge, pupils sometimes become restless and lose concentration. Attendance is satisfactory, despite being below the national average. The school has many systems in place to monitor this and is doing all it can to improve attendance. The school contributes to the local community through the sharing of its facilities with other organisations and pupils take their talents to other schools and groups. The local police and fire department visit the school, as do the "super grannies" to help with the gardens. Preparation for pupils' economic well-being is ensured through the satisfactory development of key skills.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teachers develop good relationships with their pupils and consequently most work hard in lessons. There are strengths, where the teaching is good, in the way teachers use challenging and open-ended questions, share expectations and expected lesson outcomes and the pace of lessons is brisk. Teaching assistants, particularly those who support pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, make significant contributions to the overall effectiveness of lessons through setting appropriate challenges and relating tasks to their individual education plans. Staff use resources well to make sure pupils for whom English is an additional language can access the full curriculum and actively participate in lessons. However, there is a lack of challenge for the more able pupils, which results in slow progress for these pupils. There are inconsistencies in marking and showing pupils how they can improve, and not all pupils are expected to answer questions in class. This results in some pupils' misconceptions not being identified and addressed.
Curriculum and other activities
The curriculum is satisfactory and adequately meets the needs of the pupils. However, it does not meet the needs of the most able as planning for different levels of ability is not developed. Enrichment activities are good with many visits and visitors planned to make learning more interesting. The range of activities outside lessons is good and helps pupils develop health and fitness. There is sufficient time given to basic skills of reading, writing and ICT, but skills learnt are not used enough in other curriculum areas. Links between subjects are not made and therefore there are missed opportunities for effective learning.
Care, guidance and support
Pupils are well cared for in a harmonious and happy school. Staff create a caring, respectful and supportive learning environment in which pupils say they feel safe. Pupils know who to go to if they have a problem and parents are positive about the care provided. One child said, 'It's really good to communicate with people, get along with others – it's like a second home.' Pupils for whom English is an additional language receive carefully planned and structured support, both within lessons and in small group work. Guidance for academic progress is not as strong as the pastoral support. Although systems are good for tracking pupils' progress, information is not used consistently to speed up progress. Procedures for safeguarding pupils are fully in place and the school ensures training is maintained in safety-related aspects of the school's work, such as first aid and health and safety.
Leadership and management
The headteacher, who ably leads his staff, has worked with commitment to ensure a shared approach to school improvement. Self-evaluation, largely undertaken by the headteacher, demonstrates that the school is clear about its strengths and weaknesses. The headteacher's monitoring of the quality of teaching, which analyses teaching in considerable detail, is regular and thorough. This has improved teaching and learning. However, there are subject managers new to the role who do not sufficiently use information, such as data to improve subject areas in specific areas of need. The school recognises this as an area for further development and has robust plans to address this. Governors actively challenge the school, particularly in curriculum issues, and fulfil their statutory responsibilities.