Willow Bank Junior School
phone: 0118 9691556
headteacher: Mr Robert Foster
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 %
- Willow Bank Infant School RG54RW (173 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Waingels College RG54RF (1407 pupils)
- 0.5 miles St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School, Woodley RG53BH (394 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Woodley CofE Primary School RG54UX (295 pupils)
- 0.6 miles St Dominic's RC Junior School RG53BH
- 0.6 miles St Dominic's RC Infant School RG53BH
- 0.7 miles The Ambleside Centre RG54JJ (149 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Beechwood Primary School RG54JJ (308 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Sonning CofE Primary School RG46XF (210 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Beechwood County Junior School RG54JJ
- 0.7 miles Beechwood County Infant School RG54JJ
- 0.9 miles Rivermead Primary School RG54BS (365 pupils)
- 1.1 mile South Lake Junior School RG53NA
- 1.1 mile William Gray Junior School RG53JE
- 1.1 mile William Gray Infant School RG53JE
- 1.1 mile The Bulmershe School RG53EL (894 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Reading Blue Coat School RG46SU (735 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Addington School RG53EU (203 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Highwood Primary School RG53JE (203 pupils)
- 1.1 mile South Lake Primary School RG53NA (477 pupils)
- 1.3 mile South Lake Infant and Nursery School RG53QQ
- 1.7 mile Cedar Park School RG109PP
- 1.8 mile The Colleton Primary School RG100AX (301 pupils)
- 1.8 mile St Nicholas Church of England Primary, Hurst RG100DR (132 pupils)
Willow Bank Junior School
Duffield Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG5 4RW
|Inspection dates||26–27 September 2012|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|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
| 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
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.
|Keith Sadler, Lead inspector||Additional inspector|
|Linda Rafferty||Additional inspector|
Information about this school
- The school is of average size. Most pupils live close to the school, although a few are from the
- 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
- 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
- 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
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).
|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
- 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 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.
|Unique reference number||109890|
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:
www.ofsted.gov.uk. If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 0300
123 4234, or email
|Type of school||Junior|
|Age range of pupils||7–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||224|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||3–4 November 2010|
|Telephone number||0118 9691556|
|Fax number||0118 9697816|
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