Wootton Lower School
Headteacher: Mr Chris Tavener
288 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||109494|
|Inspection dates||13–14 October 2008|
|Reporting inspector||Janet Robinson|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
The registered childcare, managed by the governing body, was inspected under section 49 of the Childcare Act 2006.
|Type of school||Primary|
|Age range of pupils||5–9|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number on roll|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mr Tim Beacon|
|Headteacher||Mr Ian Stephen|
|Date of previous school inspection||21 September 2005|
Date of previous funded early education|
|Not previously inspected|
|Date of previous childcare inspection||Not previously inspected|
|School address||Bedford Road|
|Bedfordshire MK43 9JT|
|Telephone number||01234 768 239|
|Fax number||01234 764 389|
|Inspection dates||13–14 October 2008|
© Crown copyright 2008
The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Wootton Lower School is a large lower school in a village community, four miles from Bedford. There is a Reception unit providing for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). There are 49 children in the unit, some of whom are part -time. They will join the school full-time in January. The proportion of children eligible for free school meals is below the national average. There are currently no children who have English as an additional language. There is a broad range of minority ethnic backgrounds but no significant numbers in any one group. Around 10% of the pupils have learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The school plays an active part in the local cluster of schools, Learning Community 4. The headteacher has been in post for eleven years and there has been one new member of staff this term. Children enter the school with attainment that is in line with that expected for their age.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Wootton Lower School provides a good and effective education for its pupils and has a number of strengths. There are also a few areas for improvement which the school is aware of through its self-evaluation. Work is already in place to remedy some of these. Most parents are supportive of the school and appreciate what it offers to its pupils. One parent wrote, 'I am confident that Wootton Lower School provides a positive, happy and secure environment in which my child can learn and progress to the best of her abilities.' Children make a good start to their education in the EYFS. The progress pupils make as they go through the school has improved over the last two years and is good. At the end of Key Stage 1, standards are above national averages in reading, writing and mathematics. As pupils continue their education, progress continues to improve, so that standards in Year 4 are above the expectation nationally. However, although attainment in mathematics has improved recently, it is below the standards achieved in reading and writing.
Pupils' personal development and well-being are good. They understand the importance of healthy lifestyles and have good cultural and spiritual awareness. They behave well towards each other and around the school and they feel safe. Pupils enjoy school very much and are especially keen to learn when lessons involve, motivate and excite them. The school encourages pupils to take on responsibility and they rise to the challenge and make positive contributions, both to the running of the school and within the local community. They are prepared well for the next stage of their learning and ultimately for the world of work.
Teaching and learning are good overall with areas of both outstanding and satisfactory practice. When teaching is at its best it promotes excellent learning because it is interesting and engaging for pupils at all levels of ability. Occasionally, teaching does not challenge the more able sufficiently and as a result they may lose focus or underachieve. Classes are managed well and teachers mark work regularly. However, although much of the marking is positive, there is inconsistent practice between classes. The good curriculum includes visitors, visits and various activities and special events. Recent creative curriculum developments are further motivating pupils and have already impacted positively on their enjoyment of learning.
Pupils are looked after well by the staff team who aim to keep them safe and well cared for. The school works well with others to improve pupils' learning and those who find learning difficult are able to achieve. The school council gives pupils opportunities to have a voice and they say they feel safe and happy at school. Academic guidance is not sufficiently developed as some pupils do not have an understanding of their own targets for learning. This means they are not sufficiently involved in the learning process.
The leadership and management of the school are effective and the senior management team sets a clear direction aimed at improving the teaching and learning. The governing body is committed and hard working. They know what the school needs to do to improve and are developing their role so that they provide not only support but increasing challenge. The school has made good progress on the issues raised in the previous inspection and has good capacity to make further improvement.
Effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage
The school has made a positive start in conforming to the requirements of the recently introduced EYFS framework. Leadership and management are good. The school enjoys productive links with local pre-school groups and undertakes home visits prior to admission. These good induction arrangements prepare parents well for their child's first days in school and ensure that children make good progress right from the start.
Staff nurture and care for the children, who flourish in the warm and positive environment. These are key factors in helping children to settle happily and they are soon familiar with the class routines. They behave well and develop into confident young learners. Staff plan an exciting curriculum, covering all areas of learning through a good balance of activities led by adults and those that children choose independently. Children enjoy learning through play, both indoors and in the spacious outdoor area. Staff use local resources well, as, for example, when children walk around the village to look at the autumn colours and then write about what they have seen. Skilled learning support ensures children of all abilities are able to achieve well. Careful observations and assessments are used to plan future steps in learning and children make good progress overall. By the end of the Reception year standards are above average, although in creative development, achievement is average.
Achievement and standards
Pupils make good progress and by the end of Year 2, standards are above average. The most recent national assessments show a continuing trend of improvement in both Year 2 and Year 4. The school's own tracking shows that pupils continue to make good progress through Years 3 and 4. By the end of Year 4, achievement in reading and writing is good and standards are above average, although achievement in mathematics lags a little way behind these. Pupils demonstrate their good information and communication technology (ICT) skills through their assured use of interactive whiteboards. The improvements seen come through more detailed analysis of assessment results, with better planning and targeting of resources. This has also enabled the school to make better improved provision for those pupils who have specific learning needs. As a result, their achievement has improved and they make the same progress as others in the school. However, too few pupils reach the higher levels.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils show great enjoyment in their learning, and particularly like the opportunities the more creative curriculum approach provides. These attitudes are reflected in their good attendance, which is consistently above national average. Pupils have a good understanding of what they must do to stay healthy, supported by the physical education curriculum and extra-curricular sports. They demonstrate good commitment to the smooth running of the school through their roles as school councillors and their work as playground leaders. Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good, well supported by a good personal, social and health education curriculum. Pupils take responsibility for their own actions and have a clear view on right and wrong. Their behaviour in class and around school is consistently good. The children feel safe from any bullying or harassment. Their sense of social responsibility is being broadened to extend into the wider community. For example, there are good links with nearby churches and other local village organisations. However, this is not fully developed to include a wide spectrum of organisations and links beyond the immediate community. Pupils' good literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, along with the 'enterprise' work done in conjunction with the local upper school, are providing a good basis for their future development.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Teachers are clear about what pupils are to learn and through sharing this knowledge with them, ensure they also know what they are working towards. This enables teachers and pupils to judge how successful the learning has been. In many lessons, the effective use of technology, such as the interactive white boards, creates a high level of interest and engagement. Well-planned lessons provide a good match of work to pupils' needs and move along at a brisk pace. Joint planning between teachers in the same year group is a strong feature of the process. However, while there is provision for different groups of pupils in classroom practice, not all plans record this in sufficient detail, particularly the more challenging activities for the most able. Teachers mark pupils' work regularly and make many positive comments. There are some excellent examples, but this is variable and occasionally, marking is not sufficiently sharp in identifying what specifically the pupil needs to do to improve. Good provision for those who need additional support for their learning comes through both planning and the good work of the teaching assistants.
Curriculum and other activities
The school is developing a vibrant and creative curriculum that is enthusing the pupils and inspiring their learning. Although the new curriculum is still developing, they talk enthusiastically about how they are finding work more interesting and fun. There are strong links between subjects, as for example, when an English lesson had a powerful element of personal and social education, or dance and drama were part of a history lesson. Enrichment activities are good and there are regular opportunities for visits and outings. The sports partnership with the upper school contributes to improved opportunities and there are a number of after school clubs which develop pupils' skills. Apart from the choir, these are mainly related to sport. However, the new curriculum is not fully in place or embedded yet and is therefore not yet having a full impact on standards.
Care, guidance and support
Staff take the welfare of their pupils seriously and look for ways to build their self-esteem in class, around the school and, for some, in the weekly nurture group. Pupils feel safe and know who to go to if they experience a problem. The school council gives pupils a forum in which they can raise concerns or other matters that are important to them. The school has good links with a range of agencies who are involved in improving learning. Routine health and safety procedures are in place, and the school and governors are in the process of ensuring that child protection training is up to date. Academic guidance is not consistent across the school and therefore pupils do not always know their individual targets or what they need to do to get better.
Leadership and management
The newly restructured senior leadership team is successful in clearly directing progress throughout the school. The school's self evaluation has accurately identified the areas to prioritise for improvement. Information gathered through the analysis of test results and regular classroom monitoring by the school's leaders has been used well to ensure greater consistency in teaching. As a result the achievement of pupils is rising steadily. The leadership team sets challenging targets for pupils and works successfully in order to achieve them but there are some inconsistencies in the quality of leadership at different levels. The school is working towards ensuring that all groups of learners are successful and achieve the best they can. It contributes well to the cohesion of the community within the closer school and village community, but there is a limited range of activities taking place on a more national or global level. Pupils benefit from the school's good resources and accommodation and from the committed governing body who fulfil their roles well.
|Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance 'Complaining about inspections', which is available from Ofsted's website: ofsted.gov.uk.|
|Key to judgements: grade 1 is outstanding, grade 2 good, grade 3 satisfactory, and grade 4 inadequate.||School Overall|
|How effective,efficient and inclusive is the provision of education,integrated care and any extended services in meeting the needs of learners?||2|
|Effective steps have been taken to promote improvement since the last inspection||Yes|
|How well does the school work in partnership with others to promote learners' well-being?||2|
|The capacity to make any necessary improvements||2|
|How effective is the provision in meeting the needs of children in the EYFS?||2|
|How well do children in the EYFS achieve?||2|
|How good is the overall personal development and well-being of the children?||2|
|How effectively are children in the EYFS helped to learn and develop?||2|
|How effectively is the welfare of children in the EYFS promoted?||2|
|How effectively is provision in the EYFS led and managed?||2|
|How well do learners achieve?||2|
|The standards¹ reached by learners||2|
|How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners||2|
|How well learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make progress||2|
|How good are the overall personal development and well-being of the learners?||2|
|The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||2|
|The extent to which learners adopt healthy lifestyles||2|
|The extent to which learners adopt safe practices||2|
|The extent to which learners enjoy their education||2|
|The attendance of learners||2|
|The behaviour of learners||2|
|The extent to which learners make a positive contribution to the community||2|
|How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being||2|
|How effective are teaching and learning in meeting the full range of learners' needs?||2|
|How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs and interests of learners?||2|
|How well are learners cared for, guided and supported?||2|
|How effective are leadership and management in raising achievement and supporting all learners?||2|
|How effectively leaders and managers at all levels set clear direction leading to improvement and promote high quality of care and education||2|
|How effectively leaders and managers use challenging targets to raise standards||2|
|The effectiveness of the school's self-evaluation||2|
|How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination eliminated||2|
|How well does the school contribute to community cohesion?||3|
|How effectively and efficiently resources, including staff, are deployed to achieve value for money||2|
|The extent to which governors and other supervisory boards discharge their responsibilities||2|
|Do procedures for safeguarding learners meet current government requirements?||Yes|
|Does this school require special measures?||No|
|Does this school require a notice to improve?||No|
15 October 2008
Inspection of Wootton Lower School, Wootton, MK43 9JT
Thank you for being so helpful and friendly when we visited your school. Mr Francis, Mrs Smith and I really enjoyed the time we spent with you. It was especially good for us to hear about all the things you do at school and know that you enjoy school very much indeed.
You told us about the exciting things you have been learning this term and how your school teaches you to stay healthy and keep fit. Many of you told us you think Wootton is a good school and we agree with you. Teachers and staff help you to learn well and they look after you and listen to your ideas.
Here are some of the many things that are good about your school:
Here are two things that we feel would make your school even better:
We know that Mr Stephen and his staff will work very hard to continue to make the school as good as possible. You can help with this by making sure you always do your best.
We wish you every success for the future and hope you will always enjoy school as much as you do now.