School etc

Willow Bank Junior School

Willow Bank Junior School
Duffield Road

phone: 0118 9691556

headteacher: Mr Robert Foster

reveal email: h…


school holidays: via Wokingham council

225 pupils aged 7—10y mixed gender
240 pupils capacity: 94% full

105 boys 47%


120 girls 53%


Last updated: June 19, 2014

Primary — Community School

Education phase
Establishment type
Community School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 476809, Northing: 174170
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.461, Longitude: -0.89579
Accepting pupils
7—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Sept. 26, 2012
Region › Const. › Ward
South East › Maidenhead › Coronation
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in Reading

Schools nearby

  1. Willow Bank Infant School RG54RW (173 pupils)
  2. 0.4 miles Waingels College RG54RF (1407 pupils)
  3. 0.5 miles St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School, Woodley RG53BH (394 pupils)
  4. 0.6 miles Woodley CofE Primary School RG54UX (295 pupils)
  5. 0.6 miles St Dominic's RC Junior School RG53BH
  6. 0.6 miles St Dominic's RC Infant School RG53BH
  7. 0.7 miles The Ambleside Centre RG54JJ (149 pupils)
  8. 0.7 miles Beechwood Primary School RG54JJ (308 pupils)
  9. 0.7 miles Sonning CofE Primary School RG46XF (210 pupils)
  10. 0.7 miles Beechwood County Junior School RG54JJ
  11. 0.7 miles Beechwood County Infant School RG54JJ
  12. 0.9 miles Rivermead Primary School RG54BS (365 pupils)
  13. 1.1 mile South Lake Junior School RG53NA
  14. 1.1 mile William Gray Junior School RG53JE
  15. 1.1 mile William Gray Infant School RG53JE
  16. 1.1 mile The Bulmershe School RG53EL (894 pupils)
  17. 1.1 mile Reading Blue Coat School RG46SU (735 pupils)
  18. 1.1 mile Addington School RG53EU (203 pupils)
  19. 1.1 mile Highwood Primary School RG53JE (203 pupils)
  20. 1.1 mile South Lake Primary School RG53NA (477 pupils)
  21. 1.3 mile South Lake Infant and Nursery School RG53QQ
  22. 1.7 mile Cedar Park School RG109PP
  23. 1.8 mile The Colleton Primary School RG100AX (301 pupils)
  24. 1.8 mile St Nicholas Church of England Primary, Hurst RG100DR (132 pupils)

List of schools in Reading

School report

Willow Bank Junior School

Duffield Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG5 4RW

Inspection dates 26–27 September 2012
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Good 2
Previous inspection: Satisfactory 3
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

Despite uncertainties in leadership and
Teaching is led well and of good quality.
management, achievement has improved
since the previous inspection and is good in
all year groups. All groups of pupils, including
disabled pupils and those that have special
educational needs, make good progress and
standards are signficantly above average in
English, mathematics and science.
Pupils thoroughly enjoy the good range of
interesting activities that teachers generally
provide. Even so, a few lessons require
improvement. This is because teachers
sometimes waste time at the beginning of
lessons and the pace of learning is slowed
because introductions are sometimes too
Relationships across the school are positive
The school is led expertly by two outstanding
and behaviour is good. Pupils are happy and
feel safe. By the time they reach Year 6, they
are confident and secure and have high self-
headteachers. Governors and staff are united
in their determination to drive improvement
and make the school even better. Effective
initiatives, based on accurate school self-
evaluation, have had a positive impact on
teaching and learning. Child protection,
health and safety and staff vetting
procedures are of good quality and meet
regulatory requirements.
Although some lessons are outstanding, there
is not yet enough excellent teaching to make
achievement outstanding. All groups make
good progress and this leads to standards
that are signficantly above average rather
than high.

Information about this inspection

  • The inspection was carried out with half a day’s notice.
  • Inspectors observed 18 lessons led by 11 teachers. Of these, four were joint observations
    undertaken with the two interim headteachers.
  • Inspectors held meetings with a representative from the local authority, three meetings with
    members of the governing body, and with groups of pupils. In addition to a number of
    meetings with members of staff, the questionnaires completed by 19 members of staff were
    taken into account.
  • As well as informal discussions with parents and carers at the start of the school day, a
    meeting was held with them. In addition, account was taken of the 38 responses to the online
    questionnaire (Parent View).
  • The inspectors reviewed a wide range of documentation including the school’s analysis of
    pupils’ progress, teachers’ lesson plans, the school’s action plan, local authority reports,
    leaders’ monitoring records and pupils’ work as well as those relating to safeguarding.

Inspection team

Keith Sadler, Lead inspector Additional inspector
Linda Rafferty Additional inspector

Full report

Information about this school

  • The school is of average size. Most pupils live close to the school, although a few are from the
    surrounding area.
  • Most pupils are of White British heritage and both the percentage of pupils from minority ethnic
    groups and the proportion who speak English as an additional language are well below the
    national average.
  • Very few pupils are known to be eligible for free school meals and this is very low in
    comparison to the national average. These pupils are entitled to the pupil premium (additional
    government funding).
  • The number of pupils supported at school action, school action plus or with a statement of
    special educational needs, is much below the national average.
  • The school meets the current floor standards set by the government, which determine the
    minimum expectations for attainment and progress.
  • The school’s leadership and management have gone through a turbulent period in the past
    year. Currently there is an acting deputy headteacher.
  • Since January 2012, the school has been under the interim headship of two acting
    headteachers. One is an experienced headteacher who is a senior officer of Wokingham
    Borough Council. He is currently in the school for three days each week. The other two days
    are led by the second headteacher.
  • The governors are currently in the process of recruiting a new permanent headteacher. The
    two acting headteachers will remain at the school until the new headteacher takes up post.
  • The school has started a breakfast club this term.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • By April 2014, lift the quality of teaching and learning so that it is consistently outstanding by
    ensuring that:
    pupils are clear about what they need to do to reach the next step in their learning
    the learning of lower-ability pupils in mathematics is supported by a good range of
    practical mathematics resources
    the pace of learning is brisk, by reducing time wasted at the beginning of lessons and by
    the length of teachers’ introductory comments
    inconsistencies in the setting and reviewing of homework are removed
    teachers’ lesson plans include more opportunities for pupils to develop their skills in
    information and communication technology (ICT).

Inspection judgements

The achievement of pupils is good
  • Pupils enter the school with above average attainment. School tracking data, work in books
    and in lessons show that all groups achieve well. When taking account of their different
    starting points, the proportion making or exceeding the expected progress is above national
  • Attainment has improved well since the average levels found at the last inspection. At the
    end of Year 6, standards are significantly above average in English, mathematics and
  • The strong emphasis that has been placed on strengthening achievement in writing,
    particularly for the more-able pupils, has paid dividends. In consequence, the proportion of
    pupils gaining the higher levels at the end of Year 6 has been substantially increased.
  • In reading, a re-vamped programme has had a positive impact. This, when allied to the
    increased emphasis on the teaching of sounds and letters for the less-able pupils, means
    that attainment is now high at the end of Year 6. The new reading books are popular and
    pupils’ progress is closely monitored.
  • In mathematics, although achievement is good overall, less-able pupils’ progress is often
    restricted because there are too few mathematical resources available. However, this is not
    always the case. For example, in a good-quality lower-set Year 5 lesson, the teacher was
    adroit in making use of practical apparatus to help pupils to grasp the concept of place
    value to four digits.
  • Pupils’ positive attitudes to learning contribute strongly to their good achievement. The
    pupils settle to their tasks quickly and with enthusiasm because they find lessons
    interesting. They are articulate and keen to share their ideas.
  • The few pupils that are in receipt of additional funding through the pupil premium achieve
    well in English and mathematics. Their progress is tracked well and there are good
    procedures to ensure that they do not slip behind.
  • The progress and achievement of pupils who are disabled or have special educational needs
    are good. Their learning has been accelerated because recent effective systems have been
    put into place to ensure that needs are now identified much earlier. In addition, there are
    good-quality programmes and plans for different individuals.
  • Boys and girls, pupils from different ethnic groups and those entitled to free school meals all
    make similarly good progress to their classmates.
The quality of teaching is good
  • Teaching is typically good across a wide range of subjects. Learning is made interesting and
    work is clearly explained. Teachers manage the pupils exceptionally well and the ensuing
    positive relationships ensure that all classrooms have a calm and purposeful atmosphere. As
    a Year 6 pupil commented, ‘Our teachers understand us and are patient. They care for us
    as individuals and they want us to improve.’
  • Teachers generally make good use of assessments to plan work that is matched well to
    pupils’ learning needs. Their assessments are aided by good-quality questioning skills to
    check pupils’ understanding. Marking is thorough and comprehensive. Despite these
    strengths, pupils are not clear about what they need to do to reach the next level in their
    learning in both writing and mathematics.
  • Learning mostly proceeds at a good pace and interesting tasks add to pupils' enjoyment and
    progress. Teachers are particularly adept at building pupils’ social skills by setting activities
    for pupils to work in pairs and small groups. In a good Year 4 science lesson, for example,
    pupils were working in pairs to produce their own ideas of the concept of forces and this
    was very productive.
  • Even though the pace of learning is generally good, where lessons require improvement or
    even in a few good lessons, teachers spend too long on introductions. This lowers pupils’
  • The teaching of pupils with disabilities or special educational needs is good. Their learning is
    promoted well by the good support that they are given in class by the skilled teaching
    assistants. Their teaching is similarly effective when they are withdrawn for small group or
    individual teaching.
  • A minority of parents or carers raised concerns about the appropriateness of homework
    provided. This issue was reviewed. These views are well founded because there are some
    inconsistencies in the quality and range of homework set.
  • Teaching has improved considerably since the previous inspection and most lessons are
    now good, and an increasing proportion is outstanding. However, overall, teaching is not
    yet outstanding. Although teaching promotes effective learning, the proportion that is
    outstanding is not sufficiently high to promote securely outstanding achievement.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
  • Behaviour is good in lessons and around the school and during break times it is often
    outstanding. Pupils know what they do affects others and are helpful and kind to each other
    and to adults. Their well-developed social skills are the result of all the adults supporting
    and caring for them well. Discrimination of any kind is not tolerated by them, and this too
    helps pupils to feel that they are well cared for. As a Year 6 pupil said, ‘Everyone is friendly,
    well behaved and safe in our school.’
  • Although the very large majority of parents and carers who completed the Parent View
    questionnaire said that the school makes sure that the pupils are well behaved, only half
    said that the school deals effectively with bullying. These views are not confirmed by
    inspection findings. Incidents of bullying of any kind, such as aggressive behaviour and
    name calling, are very rare. School records indicate that behaviour is typically good.
  • Pupils enjoy learning and want to do well. They work with enthusiasm on their tasks, listen
    carefully to their teachers and treat the contributions made by their classmates with
    respect. The good personal and social development curriculum includes an effective
    programme to help pupils to develop a secure understanding of how to behave safely and
    sensibly out of school. They are also taught how to use the internet safely.
  • The vast majority of parents and carers say that their children feel safe in school. Most
    parents and carers also state that they are well looked after. Pupils too say that they feel
    safe. These views are confirmed by inspection findings which show that the pupils are
    rightly confident that any fears they have would be resolved by staff.
  • A serious incident that occurred at the school since the previous education inspection has
    been investigated by the appropriate authorities and is now closed. Ofsted does not have
    the power to investigate incidents of this kind. The welfare provision in the school was
    evaluated against the regulations that are in place and inspection judgements are based on
    the evidence available at the time of the inspection.
The leadership and management are good
  • Although the school’s senior leadership has experienced some turbulence, the school has
    continued to improve its provision and pupils’ achievement. Teaching and learning are
    closely monitored by senior leaders, and teachers’ priorities for improvement are quickly
    supported by additional training. This is because there are now robust and well-conceived
    arrangements for the appraisal of teaching.
  • Revised tracking procedures introduced by the interim headteachers have strengthened the
    depth and quality of data used to check pupils’ progress. These data are used well to
    identify any groups or individuals who are in danger of falling behind. Self-evaluation
    procedures are also thorough and accurate, never complacent and well directed towards
    improvement. These features have been key to the school’s improved effectiveness.
  • Teachers with subject responsibilities, particularly those for literacy, numeracy and for the
    leadership and management of pupils that have disabilities and those with special
    educational needs, are effective. They have all developed robust systems for checking
    provision and progress in their respective areas. In addition, specific improvement projects,
    such as that to raise the proportion of pupils gaining higher levels in writing, have paid
    dividends. Also, the new reading scheme has had a positive impact both in terms of
    improved achievement and pupils’ enjoyment of reading. These improvements provide a
    clear demonstration of the school’s commitment to ensuring that all groups of pupils have
    equal opportunity to succeed.
  • The school has benefited from extensive and successful support from the local authority.
    This has included specialist personnel advice and support for the governing body. Critically,
    the local authority has also brokered the appointment of an outstanding interim
    headteacher as well as seconding one of its own senior staff on a part-time basis. These
    two headteachers jointly provide excellent leadership and their commitment, drive and
    sensitivity have been fundamental to the school’s effectiveness.
  • Close attention is paid to additional funding being spent effectively with entitled pupils
    benefiting from good support.
  • The curriculum is of good quality. Revisions to the literacy curriculum and the close tailoring
    of topics and themes to pupils’ interests mean that pupils’ enjoyment has been enhanced.
    The programme for personal development is good and the curriculum successfully promotes
    pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The curriculum for the arts,
    particularly music, and that for physical education is good. Nonetheless, senior staff are
    keenly aware that teachers’ plans do not provide sufficient opportunities for pupils to make
    use of ICT across a range of subjects and themes.
  • The governance of the school:
    is effective. With support from the local authority, the governing body has not shirked its
    responsibilities. The governing body has taken decisive action and members have
    demonstrated their commitment to ensuring that the children’s best interests lay at the
    heart of their work

members of the governing body, with support from the interim headteachers, have

reviewed policies and procedures to ensure that all regulatory requirements, including
safeguarding, are met. Those for child protection, health and safety and staff vetting

procedures are fully in place and of good quality.

What inspection judgements mean


Grade Judgement Description
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.

School details

Unique reference number 109890
Local authority Wokingham
Inspection number 405260

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the
guidance ‘raising concerns and making complaints about Ofsted', which is available from Ofsted’s website: If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 0300
123 4234, or email reveal email: enqu…

Type of school Junior
School category Community
Age range of pupils 7–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 224
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Richard Davies
Headteacher Jim Mathieson
Date of previous school inspection 3–4 November 2010
Telephone number 0118 9691556
Fax number 0118 9697816
Email address reveal email: adm…

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