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Following my visit to the school on 11 January 2018, I write on behalf of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills to report the inspection findings. The visit was the first short inspection carried out since the school was judged to be good in November 2013. This school continues to be good.
The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. You took up the post of headteacher in September 2015. Since then, you and your staff have worked effectively to secure continuing improvement.
You have devised an action plan for school development that correctly identifies areas to fo...cus on, such as improving achievement in phonics and in writing in key stage 1. You have provided your teachers with extra training in English and mathematics to enhance their practice. You have also joined the group of schools that form the local teaching alliance.
This enables staff to work collaboratively and observe strong practice in other schools in the area. You work effectively to provide a welcoming and well-maintained learning environment for your pupils. You have introduced a new emphasis on developing your pupils' resilience in their learning and have given them a framework to try to grapple with difficult tasks before seeking help from an adult.
The effectiveness of this is evident in pupils' positive attitudes to their learning and in the challenging work that teachers provide for them. You have successfully addressed the areas for improvement that inspectors identified in the last inspection report. You now provide pupils with many opportunities to use their writing skills in other subjects.
The quality of writing is good and there is evidence of the most able pupils writing with greater sophistication. For example, in science they write explanations about light, using advanced structures and vocabulary as in 'Light is made of miniature particles called photons.' The quality of teaching has continued to improve, and the vast majority of pupils make good or better progress.
In English and mathematics, the proportion of pupils who now reach the expected standard or better in Year 6 is typically close to or above the national average. In 2017, progress in writing by the end of Year 6 was significantly above the national average. The governing body now makes more effective checks on the school's assessment information.
Governors routinely and robustly compare this information with national averages, challenging leaders well in the process. They have a secure knowledge of pupils' progress in the school. I met with staff who are not senior leaders.
They value the training they receive and think it improves their professional performance. The sustained good quality of education in the school substantiates this opinion. They also made it clear that they feel part of a team and that leaders create a supportive ethos in the school.
Pupils with whom I spoke told me that they enjoy school. They benefit from a varied programme of lessons and other activities that support their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, as well as their understanding of fundamental British values. These activities include lessons in religious education, where pupils learn to understand different faiths, and personal, social and health education.
There are also opportunities to take part in clubs such as the Fantastic Book Award Club, which encourages pupils to read for pleasure, and sport clubs, such as netball or tag rugby. I spoke with a small group of parents and carers, who were very appreciative of the work of the school. Although there were some negative responses in Parent View, Ofsted's online survey, the evidence I gathered during my visit did not support the views expressed in them, and there were mostly positive comments in the survey.
Typically, parents are pleased with the 'fantastic' education their children receive. The local authority effectively provides 'light touch' support for the school. Advisers know the school's strengths and areas for improvement well.
Safeguarding is effective. The leadership team has ensured that all safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose and records are detailed and of high quality. In your role as designated safeguarding lead, you make prompt referrals when necessary to appropriate agencies.
You are also rigorous in pursuing issues that may require more rapid attention. The school's record of required checks on members of staff is complete and complies with government guidance. The culture of safeguarding in the school is strong.
Pupils feel safe in the school and know, for example, that they should not do anything online that may reveal personal or contact details. This is because adults inform them well. Your staff have a secure understanding of safeguarding processes because they receive effective training.
They also know pupils well and are alert to the possible signs of abuse. Recent actions you have taken to reduce absences and persistent absences are beginning to have a positive effect. These include an attendance reward system that the school council devised and more frequent use of penalty notices in the case of unauthorised absences.
In particular, there has been a considerable reduction in the rate of persistent absence of pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities and disadvantaged pupils, with the result that they are no longer in the worst 10% nationally. You acknowledge, however, that you need to press on with your strategies to ensure that you further reduce absence for these groups of pupils. Inspection findings ? At the start of my visit, we agreed a number of key lines of enquiry for the inspection.
I have already written about how successfully you have addressed the areas for improvement identified at the last inspection. I have also written about how effectively you manage safeguarding in school. ? The next key line of enquiry concerned the low attainment in writing in the tests at the end of Year 2 in 2017.
You have taken swift action to address this issue, including it as a main focus in your school's improvement plan for this academic year. You have placed your recently appointed assistant headteacher in Year 2, making effective use of her experience to secure the best possible progress. You have also introduced more focused assessment of pupils' writing so that teachers can identify gaps in skills and ensure that they provide precise support so that pupils improve.
Evidence in pupils' books in the current Year 2 indicates that most pupils now make good progress. For example, most-able pupils write in an engaging style for their stage of development, creating sentences such as 'No-one knew what Timothy was up to because they did not talk to each other.' However, less-able pupils progress more slowly.
You recognise that you need to embed your strategies to ensure that this group makes stronger progress. ? Another focus was the effectiveness of the teaching of phonics in key stage 1. You recognised that there was some previous underperformance in this area, especially in Year 1, and included the teaching of phonics as a key focus in your school's improvement plan.
I saw evidence that teachers now plan and teach lessons which ensure that pupils use their different senses to learn effectively. Teachers also have high expectations and provide challenging work for their classes. You have developed tighter tracking, with more precise targets for pupils' progress.
You also make specific reference to pupils applying their knowledge of phonics in, for example, science and religious education, by including keywords in classroom displays with the 'sound buttons' used to indicate the different sounds in the word. As a result, current pupils in key stage 1 make good progress. The school's assessment information indicates that an improved proportion of pupils are on track to reach the expected standard in Year 1 by the end of the year.
• Another key line of enquiry concerned the progress of disadvantaged pupils in key stage 1 and the current Year 3. At the end of key stage 1 in 2017, there was a substantial difference between the attainment of the seven disadvantaged pupils and the national average for other pupils in reading, writing and mathematics. You identified that almost half the group had SEN and/or disabilities, which accounted for the difference.
Evidence I saw in pupils' work demonstrated that these pupils, who are now in Year 3, make good progress from their starting points. Typically, by the end of Year 6, disadvantaged pupils achieve at least as well as other pupils nationally. ? Finally, governors understand their responsibilities well.
They have a strong understanding of the school's priorities and are ambitious to see continual improvement. Next steps for the school Leaders and those responsible for governance should ensure that they: ? accelerate the progress in writing of less-able pupils in Year 2 by securely establishing their recent strategies ? continue with their strategies to reduce non-persistent absence, especially among pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities. I am copying this letter to the chair of the governing body, the regional schools commissioner and the director of children's services for Lancashire.
This letter will be published on the Ofsted website. Yours sincerely Mark Quinn Her Majesty's Inspector Information about the inspection With you, I carried out short visits to the early years and all year groups in key stage 1 and key stage 2. I scrutinised a range of documentation, including the school's self-evaluation summary, action plans for school improvement, minutes of meetings of the governing body and records connected with the safeguarding of children.
I held discussions with you, other members of staff, governors, parents and pupils. I had a discussion by telephone with a representative of the local authority. I analysed pupils' work and the school's own assessment information.
I evaluated 43 responses received through Parent View, Ofsted's online survey. I also analysed two responses to the staff survey. There were no other survey responses.