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|Mrs Janet Daniah|
|Address||Unit 5 Unimix House, Abbey Road, London, NW10 7TR|
|Type||Other independent school|
|Number of Pupils||149 (49.7% boys 50.3% girls)|
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils like their school and enjoy making friends here. Leaders promote pupils’ understanding of diversity and prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. Pupils are taught about their Muslim faith as well as about a range of other faiths, cultures and lifestyles.
Leaders have not ensured that the school meets all its statutory requirements. Leaders have also been slow in making sure that the quality of education is strong. This means that some aspects of pupils’ welfare and the depth of their knowledge are not as secure as they should be. Safeguarding is not effective.
Pupils and staff have strong working relationships. From the start of the Reception Year, staff set clear routines and expectations for children’s behaviour. Although enthusiastically lively at times, pupils’ overall behaviour is positive, friendly and sensible. Staff deal with pupils’ worries and act quickly to address any concerns. They deal with bullying effectively.
Pupils have been taught how to hold reconciliation conversations should they fall out with their friends. They value having these skills because they help them to maintain cordial relationships with their peers.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders understand the importance of teaching pupils to read. Skilled staff teach children in the Reception Year to read using a recently introduced phonics programme. Children practise reading using books that match the sounds that they know. Across the school, staff identify pupils who fall behind in early reading. However, leaders have not ensured fidelity to one phonics teaching approach across the school in order to ensure consistency. Staff use a variety of reading schemes across the year groups to help weaker readers to catch up. As a consequence, pupils who need additional support with reading are not helped to catch up quickly.
The curriculum meets the requirements of the independent school standards (the standards). Even so, pupils’ achievements in the range of subjects are variable. Typically, leaders have thought about the subject content that they want pupils to know. However, teaching does not routinely follow leaders’ curriculum thinking closely so as to deliver subject content in a well-sequenced order. Teachers make use of a variety of different resources, which leads to variation between classes within the same subject. Generally, leaders have not ensured that teaching builds on what pupils know already. They have not ensured that teachers consistently check what pupils know and can do, or provide opportunities for them to revisit and reinforce prior learning. The proprietor has not ensured that teaching staff have strong knowledge of all the subjects that they teach. Sometimes, subject leaders are not subject experts in the subjects they lead and lack expertise to check teaching quality in their areas of responsibility. In a few subjects where teachers’ subject-specific knowledge is strong, pupils are helped to recall cumulative knowledge securely. In the early years, staff are knowledgeable and skilled to deliver a well-sequenced curriculum effectively. As a result, children build up knowledge and skills securely across all areas of learning and development.Children in the Reception Year are motivated and attentive. They put up their hands and take turns, share and listen to each other. For example, they enjoyed discussing their feelings about Diwali fireworks. Pupils throughout the school are curious and keen to learn. On the odd occasion where some low-level disruption arises, teachers resolve the matter straight away and lessons proceed uninterrupted so that all can learn.From the earliest opportunity, staff encourage children in the early years to reflect on their feelings. Older pupils receive guidance on emotional well-being and anger management, for example. Pupils are taught about puberty and healthy lifestyles. They are tutored on how to stay safe when using the internet. They also appreciate enrichment opportunities that leaders organise for them beyond the classroom. For example, they go on visits to places of interest, such as to zoos and places where they can learn about and experience different careers.
Leaders do not ensure that the school is well maintained and in good order. Some toilet bowls did not have toilet seats and a couple of the cubicles could not be locked from the inside. In one set of boys’ lavatories, there was no soap available for washing hands and none of the handwashing facilities were equipped for hand drying.
Leaders are not rigorous enough in identifying risks and in taking action to reduce them. The escape route to the point of assembly in case of fire takes users past a rat-infested area where rubbish bins are stored. The assembly point is strewn with fly-tipped furniture and assorted debris. A physical education storage cupboard was not locked. It contained electrical circuit boards which pose a risk to pupils’ safety.
The trust board and the proprietor have little knowledge of the standards, and other requirements such as for the early years. The trust board and the proprietor do not have rigorous enough systems in place to check the school’s compliance with statutory guidance.
The school complies with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010.
Staff felt that they have a reasonable balance between work and their home lives. They said that the proprietor is considerate of their welfare.
The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.
The school’s safeguarding policy had not been updated to reflect the latest statutory guidance. The school’s leader with responsibility for safeguarding has not maintained the required up-to-date training for the role. Leaders’ safeguarding training certification could not be authenticated.
Leaders and staff know the pupils well. They are particularly alert to the contextual vulnerabilities of their pupils and look out for signs that suggest pupils may be at risk. Leaders raise concerns with external agencies and secure the help pupils may need to support their safety and well-being. There are appropriate vetting procedures in place when recruiting new staff to ensure applicants are suitable to work with pupils.
The school’s safeguarding policy is not currently published on its website. It is available in hard copy from the school office.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? The board of trustees and the proprietor are not knowledgeable enough about the standards and other requirements. As a result, they do not check and ensure that the school is compliant with statutory requirements, including for the health and welfare of pupils, such as risk assessments. The board of trustees and the proprietor should familiarise themselves with all the standards and other requirements, including those for the early years, and ensure that they are met consistently. ? The proprietor is not rigorous enough in checking that the school meets all the standards and the requirements of the early years foundation stage framework. The proprietor should establish mechanisms to keep up to date with and monitor carefully compliance will all statutory guidance, including for the early years. ? Pupils who fall behind in their reading do not get the right support they need to quickly gain confidence and fluency. This is because staff are not trained to teach and implement one agreed phonics programme. This leads to confusion. Leaders should introduce fidelity to one phonics programme for the whole school and make sure that all staff gain the expertise to teach it effectively and consistently. ? Leaders and the proprietor have not ensured that teaching staff have enough subject-specific expertise to teach in some foundation subjects. This means that staff who lead and teach those subjects are not skilled to deliver the curriculum effectively. The proprietor should ensure that the subject leaders and teachers gain a deep knowledge of all subjects they teach. ? Subject leaders do not routinely check that staff teach the intended curriculum. Occasionally, teachers make their own choices of what to teach and what teaching resources to use. This means that pupils do not consistently gain the same knowledge as their peers. Potentially, they miss out on learning essential knowledge that they will need to build on in future. Leaders should monitor to check that teachers consistently teach the intended knowledge identified in the agreed schemes of learning and resources. ? In some subjects, teachers do not identify specific gaps in pupils’ knowledge in order to address pupils’ misconceptions. Leaders should review their strategies for assessment so that they can check exactly which bits of knowledge pupils have not mastered and that need further explanation.
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