In January 2017, we invited Local Authority School Improvement Officers to spend two days in school to review our self evaluation judgements about the overall effectiveness of the school.
The review team visited all classrooms and spent time looking at children’s work to gather evidence about their achievement. As well as observing children in class, they observed children around school, at breaktimes, at lunchtimes and in the dining hall. They also spoke to some parents/carers on the playground and to groups of children over the two days.
The findings of the Local Authority’s School Review are that the overall effectiveness of the school continues to be GOOD, with some clear examples of Outstanding practice.
Some of the main points from the January 2017 LA School Review were:
- Since joining the school, the headteacher, ably supported by a new senior leadership team, has shown inspirational leadership and brought about rapid improvement.
- Governance has improved. The reconstituted governing body provides challenge and holds leaders accountable for pupils’ achievement and progress.
- Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a strong feature of the school. Pupils value and respect everyone equally, regardless of race, ethnicity or belief.
- The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding, as is pupils’ behaviour. Pupils are polite, considerate and show impeccable manners.
- Children in the early years get off to a good start. They enjoy coming to school and are very keen to learn about new things.
- Teaching and learning have continued to improve. The quality of teaching is consistently good and on occasions outstanding. However, sometimes learning activities are not matched closely enough to pupils’ starting points.
- Pupils’ outcomes continue to improve. New assessment procedures have had a positive effect. Pupils’ progress is tracked carefully and most pupils make at least expected progress.
- The improved monitoring of teachers’ performance has resulted in staff being held more readily to account for the progress of their pupils. As a result, pupils are progressing at a quicker rate than previously.
- Attendance is now in line with the national average. Pupils know how to stay safe.
In June 2017, Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) carried out a short Ofsted inspection. They were very complimentary about many aspects of the school, including the school’s “clear vision that places the academic, social and emotional needs of pupils at the heart of the school”; the children’s “consistently high standards of behaviour and excellent attitudes to learning”; and the “highly stimulating curriculum that combines academic rigour with access to a range of enriching experiences through the enquiry-based curriculum”.
Other key features of the school noted by HMI:
- As a result of strong leadership, rigorous systems and effective teaching, pupils achieve good standards, particularly in English and mathematics, and make good and improving progress.
- Staff are committed to developing pupils’ resilience and independence. This is reflected both in pupils’ capacity to reflect on their learning skills and in their ability to work together to solve problems.
- Innovations such as the Greenfields University initiative provide pupils with additional experiences, from dancing to learning languages that add to their self-esteem and confidence.
- The school’s own strengths are sought by other schools and the local authority has called on the expertise of the headteacher and that of other leaders to provide support and spread good practice.
- Governors are committed to the ongoing success of the school. They show a willingness to review their own performance and develop further expertise . . . Governors have defined roles for key areas such as safeguarding and they carry out their responsibilities diligently.
- The headteacher and her team maintain a consistent focus on pupils’ welfare and take their safeguarding responsibilities very seriously . . . Rigorous checks are made on the suitability of adults working at the school . . . Concerns over pupil welfare are swiftly followed up and records are thoroughly maintained . . . The calm and orderly ethos cultivated by teachers supports pupils in feeling safe and secure.
- Teachers engender strong learning behaviours in pupils, who are encouraged to solve problems independently. Pupils are comfortable when asked to explain or develop a response to a question and show confidence when sharing their answers with the class.
- As a result of individualised planning, effective teaching and a stimulating learning environment, children in the early years make strong progress and achieve levels of development above those seen nationally.
- Pupils are extremely well behaved and conduct themselves in a friendly and orderly manner around the site. Pupils’ relationships with their teachers and their peers are strong and this gives pupils the confidence to contribute openly in lessons. Pupils are extremely positive learners, who can swiftly move without fuss from group discussion to quiet working conditions. The sustained focus on positive behaviour contributes to a highly productive learning environment.
- Leaders have refined systems to diagnose and support pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. They have developed staff expertise through focused training and development work. As a result of this improving provision, pupils are making improving progress.
- Through challenging teaching and a robust curriculum, the most able pupils achieve standards above those seen nationally in the majority of areas at key stage 1 and 2