The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
The school is larger than average and is set in an area of Croydon where deprivation is greater than is usually found. The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is very high. Pupils come from diverse cultural backgrounds although most are from White British backgrounds. The next largest groups include pupils from Black African and Black Caribbean heritages. Only a few pupils are at an early stage of learning to speak English as an additional language. More pupils than usual have learning difficulties or disabilities. Since the last inspection, the school has experienced some disruption due to leadership and staffing difficulties. An acting headteacher took over the running of the school in January 2007. The school holds the Healthy Schools award and the Activemark.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Wolsey Junior School is a satisfactory and improving school. The school has recovered well from the staffing and leadership difficulties that it faced in 2006 through to January 2007. Leaders show a very strong commitment to the pupils and staff morale and teamwork are good. Parents have confidence in the school. As one parent said, 'Thanks to the staff and their hard work, they have come through a difficult year shining'.
Prior to January 2007, too many pupils had underachieved as is evident in the below average results in national tests in 2006. In particular, standards were exceptionally low in science. The acting headteacher and the acting deputy have addressed these weaknesses quickly showing good leadership, vision and enthusiasm. As a result, pupils' achievement has improved and is now satisfactory overall. Within this, pupils with learning difficulties are making good progress.
The results of national tests for the summer of 2007 confirm improved standards. They are average overall, but show a marked improvement in English and most notably science. In both English and science, standards are above average. The evidence gained from lessons, the work in pupils' books and tracking information, show that achievement is satisfactory. Standards in mathematics remain a focus for improvement. This is because too few pupils reach the higher level in their work and some middle ability girls could be doing better. Leaders have started work on improving this with more suitable and interesting problem solving and mental mathematics activities. The good focus on reading, writing and scientific investigations have helped to overturn the past legacy of underachievement. Teaching and learning in the school are satisfactory and leaders are correct to be focusing on making more lessons good.
Pupils are a real credit to the school. They are friendly, polite and enjoy all that the school offers; their behaviour has improved and is good. The varied and interesting curriculum ensures that they learn basic skills and develop good spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness. Pupils gain important personal skills as evident in their many fitness activities and enthusiastic running of a fruit stall selling healthy snacks.
The high quality guidance provided by senior staff from the adjoining infant school and the Local Authority has contributed much to the school's improvement. Following the successful implementation of many new systems, senior leaders are now in a position to delegate more responsibilities to middle managers, including being more involved in checking pupils' progress and assessing the quality of teaching and learning.
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve the achievement of girls and higher attaining pupils in mathematics.
- Lift the quality of teaching and learning so that it is at least good.
- Develop the role of middle managers so that they are more involved in checking pupils' progress and assessing the quality of teaching and learning.
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
Results in national tests for the summer of 2007 confirm that standards are rising and achievement is now satisfactory. The performance of white British pupils and those from Black African and Caribbean heritages rose well when compared with the 2006 results. Pupils with learning difficulties also achieved much better than in previous years. The careful tracking of pupils' progress and intensive support programmes have had a positive impact on achievement. In particular, these have helped pupils with learning difficulties to make good progress.
Good teaching in Year 6 helped pupils to catch up quickly in English and science. Better progress is also evident in mathematics, as evident in lessons and from the results of internal tests. Leaders have useful information that shows how much progress pupils make in different year groups. This also confirms improving rates of progress, nonetheless, considering pupils' capabilities standards should still be higher in mathematics. Work is not always challenging enough in mathematics, especially for higher attaining pupils. In the school as a whole, levels of work are continuing to rise. The targets for improvement in national tests results are challenging for mathematics. The school recognises that targets in English could be more ambitious considering the school's recent success in raising standards.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils enjoy school and most attend very regularly. Attendance is improving, and is average overall. Pupils especially enjoy music and sang 'Count Your Blessings' outstandingly well; it was a very moving experience for everyone. They keenly share their musical talents with others and, together with charity fund raising for such things as breast cancer sufferers, they contribute much to the community. When exploring Black History, they showed great respect for the achievements of Kelly Holmes. Following work on the poem of the 'The Highwayman' pupils produced high quality charcoal sketches. This demonstrates how much they enjoy learning and value the opportunity to discuss different moods and feelings in literature. Pupils behave well because they have contributed their ideas to making rules and follow them well. Teachers have high expectations for good behaviour. Pupils enjoy clubs and were still smiling even when exhausted after cross-country running! They know how to keep safe.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Lessons are thoroughly planned and teachers mostly use resources, demonstrations and discussion activities effectively to help pupils to learn in different ways. The use of information and communication technology (ICT) aids learning well. Assistants give good support to pupils with learning difficulties and work is well organised for their needs. Teachers provide interesting tasks in English with a strong focus on the development of ambitious vocabulary and discussion activities. The good emphasis on punctuation and editing helps pupils to improve their writing. In mathematics, higher ability pupils are not always sufficiently challenged and there are missed opportunities for pupils to record the steps that they go through when solving mathematical problems. The quality of teaching is improving because of the systematic monitoring by senior staff and the Local Authority. There is, however, more to be done to ensure that the quality of teaching is consistently good.
Curriculum and other activities
There is a clear focus on literacy, numeracy and science, which is contributing to rising standards. Interesting links between subjects help pupils to understand and enjoy their learning. The range of mathematical activities has been carefully reviewed and modified to include more exciting investigation activities. For example, when working on a data investigation using the scores from the television programme 'The X Factor' one pupil commented, 'You are still learning but having fun finding out'. This is helping to meet the needs of pupils better. The views of girls' have been sought so that activities are beginning to be better planned for their needs and interests. The school provides good opportunities to develop physical and sporting skills, as seen during the fitness club. Pupils greatly enjoy the enrichment activities and visits; these extend their knowledge and personal development well.
Care, guidance and support
Links with the infant school are very good and help to ensure a smooth transition for pupils when they join the junior school. Pastoral care is good and is supported by good relationships and a strong partnership with external support agencies. Pupils value the kind, caring and happy working ethos and have clear targets for improvement. They are keen to do well and most pupils know their targets in English, but they are now always as clear about these in mathematics. As a direct consequence of introducing clear systems, positive encouragement and caring support, pupils' behaviour has improved and is now good. In the last nine months exclusions have fallen dramatically. Child protection and welfare systems are rigorous. Pupils work is often marked well, giving clear guidance on how they might improve, although this is not always the case, especially in mathematics.
Leadership and management
The acting headteacher has developed a strong sense of community and teamwork. She has a clear vision for the school and, together with the acting deputy, has made a good impact on improving the school. The senior management team have a good understanding of the school's strengths and weaknesses because the process of self-evaluation is rigorous. Ambitious plans to raise achievement have already had a good effect and the priorities for improvement focus on mathematics. Governors are committed to ensuring that pupils achieve their full potential and are educated in a caring environment. They are beginning to ask more probing questions about the work of the school and this helps them to fulfil their roles satisfactorily.
The school demonstrates a satisfactory capacity to improve. The work of acting senior leaders is having a good impact, although permanent posts have yet to be advertised. The year group and subject leaders are developing their roles well but aspects of the monitoring of pupils' progress and checking the quality of learning in different subjects is an area for further development.