OFSTED REPORT – JANUARY 2018
Dear parents and carers
Please find attached a copy of the report from our recent Ofsted inspection. A copy of the report is also available at www.ofsted.gov.uk
Our school has been graded as ‘Requires Improvement’ (defined as ‘not yet Good’). Although we understand and accept the improvement points raised by the report, we are disappointed that many of the key strengths of our school are not reflected in the report and feel that the overall grade does not reflect the wider work of our school. It will not ring true with the school community and those that know us well.
As the report highlights we had already identified the majority of the key development points. We have been addressing them through our current School Development Plan, which the inspectors agreed was accurate and will now be accelerated. The inspectors shared our confidence that the staff team has the enthusiasm, skills and commitment to carry out these plans swiftly. We are equally confident that our commitment to the broad and balanced curriculum that you value so highly will not be diminished by any of these actions.
The overall judgement has been driven by performance data from the last two years, specifically the dip below national averages in Writing and Maths for some boys last year and progress from the end of Reception. Once we are graded as ‘Requires Improvement’ in this area it becomes very difficult to achieve ‘Good’ in ‘Teaching and Learning’ and ‘Leadership and Management’. However in prior years our performance has been above national in all areas, and we assess current pupils to be on track to be above national again this year. Last year the number of children reaching ‘greater depth’ in all areas was above national.
The report says ‘pupils play and work together well...’, and ‘are polite, well-mannered and respectful of others’. So we are understandably frustrated that ‘Personal development, behaviour and welfare’ is graded as ‘Requires Improvement’ solely due to observations the inspectors made about some work presentation and pupils’ self-editing. This is in spite of their recognition that pupils are ‘keen learners’, and that behaviour is ‘Good’.
The inspection was a brief snapshot of our school, taken at a time when several new systems were being embedded specifically to address the development points raised in the report, and generalisations have been made from small samples of children’s work. We work hard to make sure all pupils are confident to write and enjoy writing, and will now ensure key groups of children are well-supported to further improve their spellings and presentation. In Maths pupils are getting a deeper understanding of key concepts through our use of new materials, and we will continue to embed this recognised approach. Our teachers have a very clear understanding of each child’s progress through their ongoing assessments and termly Pupil Progress meetings. However we can see that some aspects of these processes are not evidenced rigorously enough in the children’s books. We will be monitoring this through regular focused staff meetings to ensure key skills are embedded and that all children are being appropriately challenged.
We are pleased that the inspectors have recognised our ‘good early years provision’ (this is half our school), our ‘caring ethos’, the many strengths of our governing body, that ‘pupils behave well around school and feel safe’, our good attendance levels, TA’s ‘skilful support’ for SEND pupils, and teachers ‘enthusing pupils’ through History and Geography in particular. They have also noted good progress in Reading skills, ‘a strong culture of vigilance to keep pupils safe’, good support for disadvantaged pupils, the warmth of relationships in the school, how articulate and confident the children are, and the unusually high degree of support and confidence that the parent body has for the school. However they have not mentioned the wealth of valuable work we carry out with pupils as an Attachment Aware school, a Rights Respecting School, an outstanding SIAMS school, a Green Flag Eco School, and through creative projects such as ‘Schools Without Walls’.
We are determined to hold true to the school’s vision of a fully rounded education for all our children; one that balances progress in the important core skills of literacy and numeracy, with achievement in wider and deeper areas of learning such as creativity, social skills, confidence and happiness. We have spoken to the Lead Inspector and the head of inspections for the South West about our unhappiness at the unbalanced tone of the report.
Many thanks for the very clear support for the school that you demonstrated in the inspection survey. Together we will continue to celebrate the work of the whole staff team who put so much effort into providing the children with wonderful care and learning opportunities every day. We look forward to welcoming OfSTED back into our school in two years’ time to show them a fuller picture of our lovely school.
If you have any questions about the report and would like to discuss them with me please make an appointment at the school office. I look forward to talking to you.
Many thanksEd Harker, Head teacher Claire Henwood, Chair of Governors