The inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors and two Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
This is an average-sized primary school in an area that experiences some disadvantage. Around one third of pupils are White British. Approximately two thirds have English as an additional language. Pupils speak a variety of different languages, although most speak Punjabi as their home language. Many pupils leave and join the school during the year and there is an increasing number, from Eastern European and Pakistani heritages, who join the school at the very early stages of learning English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils eligible for a free school meal is above average, as is the number of pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Since the previous inspection in 2004, there have been some significant changes, not least the building of a Children's Centre on the site to house the Foundation Stage Unit. Within the Foundation Stage, there is provision for six pupils who are on the roll of Pinderfield's Hospital Early Years Assessment Unit.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Pinders Primary provides a satisfactory quality of education for its pupils. Significant strengths in the pupils' personal development and the good quality pastoral care provided for pupils help to make this a happy school where everyone is valued. The school is highly regarded by parents, who recognise and appreciate the dedication of staff.
The majority of children enter the Foundation Stage with knowledge and skills that are well below those typical for their age. Children benefit from a sound start and make satisfactory progress. By the end of Year 2, standards remain well below average in reading, writing and mathematics and this has been the case since the time of the last inspection. Standards at the end of Year 6 have improved but remain below the national average. Pupils' achievement is better in mathematics than in English and science. The 2007 test results saw standards in mathematics becoming close to average. However, standards in English remain below the national average. From pupils' low starting points, this represents satisfactory progress overall.
The headteacher, working in close partnership with all staff, has been successful in creating a very inclusive school where pupils are well cared for and valued as individuals. Pupils work hard, behave well and enjoy school. Their attendance is satisfactory. The pupils act responsibly and readily cooperate in lessons and at playtimes. Good attention is paid to their personal development, safety and well-being. The pupils learn how to follow healthy lifestyles and know the importance of a healthy diet. The satisfactory curriculum is appropriately adapted to pupils' interests and it places the correct emphasis on basic literacy and numeracy skills. There are effective procedures for dealing with the large number of pupils who have additional learning difficulties and/or disabilities and consequently they make satisfactory progress.
The quality of teaching and learning is satisfactory overall with some that is good, mostly in upper Key Stage 2. All teachers establish good relationships and clear expectations of behaviour and this ensures that all pupils are motivated to learn and keen to take part in activities. However, the quality varies and is inconsistent in meeting the needs of all pupils, particularly for the more able. Too often pupils with differing abilities undertake very similar work. Therefore, some pupils do not achieve as highly as they could, particularly the most able.
Leadership and management are satisfactory and the school provides satisfactory value for money. Strong links with other schools, agencies and the local Children's Centre are used effectively to help to promote pupils' well-being. Although governors and senior managers over-estimate achievement and standards, the quality of teaching and learning and leadership, they do have an accurate understanding of the school's main strengths and weaknesses. Plans for improvement are clear. However, governors and school leaders do not check rigorously enough to ensure that the actions they are taking are having a direct impact on standards and the progress that pupils make. Improvement since the last inspection has been satisfactory: there have been significant improvements to the buildings and the use of information and communication technology (ICT) across the curriculum, which has led to standards rising in pupils' ICT skills. The school has satisfactory capacity to improve further.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Formed by amalgamating the Reception class and the Nursery from different parts of the school, provision in the Foundation Stage Unit is satisfactory and rapidly improving. While teaching and learning and the curriculum are satisfactory overall, there has been a good start at developing a wide range of interesting and varied activities to meet the needs of all pupils. Children get off to a sound start in a structured and stimulating environment where all learners are valued, cared for and supported. Relationships are good. During this inspection, it was difficult to tell which pupils started a few weeks earlier and which started in September. This is because children settle quickly into routines, behave well and enjoy their learning. They treat each other kindly and enjoy taking responsibility. Children make at least satisfactory gains across most areas of learning. However, in personal and social development progress is good because of the strong focus on developing pupils' social and language skills. Good and enthusiastic leadership has ensured that teamwork has been central to the unit's work. For example, the team has worked closely with the hospital staff to allow all children to benefit from a specially resourced 'sensory room'. However, the outside play area is underdeveloped. There is much at an early stage of development and clear plans set out what is to be done next. There remains much to do to compensate for children's low levels of skill when they join the school, particularly in reading and writing. An especially strong feature of the work with the hospital is that all children are included in the full range of activities, and as a result, children are very accepting and understanding of each other's differences. For example, as staff played with toys to stimulate some children with severe learning difficulties and/or disabilities other children quite happily chatted and joined in.
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve standards in reading, writing and mathematics in Key Stage 1.
- Improve standards and achievement in English in Key Stage 2.
- Improve the quality of teaching and learning by matching work and levels of challenge to pupils' prior learning and capabilities, particularly for the more able.
- Improve the effectiveness and rigour of monitoring and evaluation in bringing about improved outcomes for pupils.
A small proportion of the schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory but which have areas of underperformance will receive a monitoring visit from an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.
Achievement and standards
The achievement of all groups within school, including those who are learning English as an additional language, is satisfactory although the standards reached by learners are below average. Pupils make satisfactory progress through Year 1 and Year 2 to reach standards that remain well below average. Few pupils do really well for their age but girls do better than boys. In 2007, standards in reading were well below average. School data show that standards in the current Year 2 group will be similarly low. Although pupils make satisfactory progress, given their very low starting points on entry standards remain well below average.
In the 2007 national tests, pupils achieved satisfactorily in Year 6, reaching below average standards overall. This represents improved achievement in mathematics where standards were close to average. However, in English achievement lags behind mathematics and the standards reached were below average. The achievement of boys and girls is similar. Children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make satisfactory progress towards their targets.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' good personal development ensures that they have a good sense of right and wrong: they like and follow the school's golden rules and relate well to each other and to adults. Their spiritual and moral development is good, while their social and cultural development is very good. They are well behaved and are very accepting of other people's faiths and cultures. They are particularly good at welcoming and helping new pupils to settle quickly into the school. Pupils are extremely positive about their school. A typical comment from a pupil was, 'This is the best school ever because we make nice things and do interesting investigations.' They enjoy learning, developing new skills and taking part in all that the school provides. However, a few pupils in some classes are not always good at listening to others. Pupils understand how to keep healthy. They like the 'green tickets', which encourage them to make healthy meal choices. The school council makes a positive contribution to the school's developments, such as through the establishment of a tyre park for the playground and the planning of a healthy tuck shop. Pupils say they feel safe and that bullying and racism are rare, but if they do occur, they are dealt with swiftly and effectively. Attendance is below the national average, but initiatives such as a weekly attendance 'balloon race' ensures its promotion is high profile. Pupils make a good contribution to the wider community by taking on roles such as 'playtime buddies' and lunchtime helpers and by helping to raise money for charities. They develop useful skills of collaboration and work well independently, thus helping to prepare them for their future life.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teaching is satisfactory with some good features. Teachers and teaching assistants work effectively as a team to forge good relationships with pupils and successfully create inclusive, welcoming classrooms. As a result, pupils get on well together and enjoy their learning. In the most effective lessons, particularly for the older pupils, teachers use assessment well to plan activities at the correct level of challenge for the diverse groups of pupils in their care. However this is not found consistently and therefore some pupils, particularly the more able, do not always make as much progress as they could. Teachers offer clear explanations so pupils know exactly what is expected of them. Teaching assistants make strong contributions particularly to the teaching of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and those for whom English is an additional language. This ensures that all pupils are included in classroom learning and that these groups make the progress that they should.
Curriculum and other activities
The satisfactory curriculum has appropriate breadth and balance and meets the needs of most learners. Plans to support those pupils who are at the very early stages of learning English have recently been developed but have not been fully implemented. The curriculum contributes to pupils' enjoyment of learning and enables them to develop their good personal and social skills. The school's recent work in establishing links between subjects is contributing to pupils' enjoyment of learning. As a pupil said, reflecting the views of others, 'Learning through themes is fun.' However, as a new development it has not had enough time to have a direct impact on standards. Pupils enthuse about visits to places of interest such as the recent visit to an art gallery to take part in a mathematics day. These experiences enrich and connect their learning, and effectively support pupils' development of speaking and listening skills. Educational visits and a range of after-school activities, which are appreciated by both parents and pupils, suitably enrich the curriculum. There are good opportunities for pupils to use their ICT skills to develop and present their learning in different subjects. This is helping to make the writing process fun and interesting for some pupils, particularly boys. The school's data show that this is beginning to have a positive impact on progress for some pupils but it is too early to see the effect on improving standards in writing across the whole school.
Care, guidance and support
This is a very caring school, which works effectively with parents and outside agencies to provide good care and support for all pupils. Procedures for child protection and for safeguarding pupils meet statutory requirements. Health and safety procedures including risk assessments are secure. The staff know pupils well and show them great respect. The school is working hard to involve parents, who overwhelmingly agree that pupils are well cared for and safe. They appreciate the inclusive nature of the school and value the well-attended breakfast club, describing it as 'a great start.' Pupils say there is always someone to go to if they have a problem and are confident that they will get help and guidance, stating that 'Teachers help us to look after each other.' Pupils' standards and progress are tracked effectively. Recent improvements in the use of targets have ensured that pupils are set realistic individual targets. These are well understood by the oldest pupils and act as a way to help them improve their work. The marking of pupils' work is often good, particularly for the oldest pupils in identifying what pupils need to do to improve.
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are satisfactory. The headteacher and deputy headteacher work closely together and have a secure understanding of the main priorities for improvement. The school's self-evaluation, while broadly accurate, was over generous concerning the quality of teaching, achievement and leadership. This is because evaluations have not been robust enough to focus on improvements in standards and progress for all pupils. Subject leadership is satisfactory, and many leaders have recently taken on these new responsibilities; they are keen and enthusiastic and have clear ideas of what needs to be done to bring about improvements. However, they do not currently check effectively how initiatives to raise standards are affecting pupils' progress. A particular success of the school's leadership has been in creating a positive, inclusive ethos that results in the pupils' good behaviour and good personal development and well-being. Governors fulfil their statutory obligations and demonstrate their commitment to the school's work through visits and attendance at regular meetings. In their capacity as critical partners in school improvement, there is scope for more challenge particularly in holding the school to account for the standards and progress of all pupils.