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Pupils, parents and carers like this happy, friendly school. Many parents agreed with a parent who described the school as 'absolutely fantastic'. During the inspection, Christmas festivities were in full swing, yet pupils were impressively calm and keen to learn.
Pupils know that staff want them to achieve their very best.
The school's six values of resilience, respect, boundaries, self-regulation, focus and independence are successfully woven through all aspects of school life. Pupils proudly earn badges to show that they understand these values.
Dedicated staff ensure that pupils are safe at Alver Valley. Expectations for behaviour are clear. Pupils who ne...ed support to understand their feelings and regulate their emotions get the help they need.
A few pupils said that pupils are unkind to each other sometimes. However, they told us that they do not worry about it because they trust staff to sort out any problems quickly.
Pupils relish the opportunities they get to learn outside at 'Forest School'.
They work well together to explore and investigate their natural surroundings. Visitors to school and well-planned visits all help to extend pupils' interests and their understanding of the wider world.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Strong leadership with a clear vision for success helps to make this a good school.
Leaders and staff know pupils well. They use this knowledge to plan carefully what pupils need to learn by the time they leave the school. Many pupils join the school with speech and language skills at an earlier stage of development than is typical.
Nevertheless, by the end of key stage 1, the proportion of pupils achieving the expected standard in national assessments is broadly the same as that seen nationally.
Over the last year, leaders and staff have overhauled their plans for pupils' learning. Plans for English, mathematics and some other subjects are well defined.
Knowledge and skills that pupils need to learn in these subjects follow a logical order. Plans also help teachers know exactly what pupils need to know by the end of each term. However, not all foundation subjects are planned as precisely yet.
Work is under way to ensure that all subjects are planned as effectively.
Most pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) get the right support. Learning is careful planned in small gradual steps.
As a result, most pupils with SEND know more and remember more over time, particularly pupils in the early years and in Year 1. However, a legacy of weaker teaching and frequent staff changes in the past have meant that learning for some pupils with SEND in Year 2 has not always been so well organised. Leaders have rightly spotted this and are working well to put this right for the pupils affected.
Pupils love reading books and listening to stories every day. Story times captivate pupils, and they get engrossed in the book. Over the last year, the school's programme for the teaching of phonics has become more rigorous.
Clear and ambitious expectations have been set. Helpful training has resulted in a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Everyone knows exactly which sounds to teach each week.
If pupils get stuck, they get the extra help they need to keep up with the programme. Pupils' reading books are now carefully matched to their phonic ability. Disappointingly, the proportion of pupils achieving the required standard in the Year 1 phonics screening has remained stubbornly below that seen nationally for three years.
However, due to the systematic approach to the teaching of reading and phonics now in place, current pupils are reading and using their phonic skills well.
Following a period of instability, capable leadership of the early years is now ensuring that children get a great start to their education. Staff promote children's spoken language effectively.
They get started on phonics from the word go. Well-planned interesting experiences encourage children to be curious learners. The outdoor area includes an exciting woodland area, where children have fun working together to make dens, count natural objects or spot shapes and patterns.
Pupils behave well because they know what is expected of them. Most pupils attend school regularly. However, despite leaders' strong efforts, too many disadvantaged pupils are frequently absent from school.
Staff work effectively to promote pupils' personal development. As a result, pupils thrive at Alver Valley. Pupils enjoy lunchtime clubs, such as dodgeball.
The 'Troopers' club supports pupils from military families well. Pupils have a real say in the school, such as helping to write the school's behaviour policy.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Well-trained staff competently work as a team to keep pupils safe. Staff fully understand that safeguarding is everyone's responsibility. They quickly recognise if a pupil is at risk of harm.
Staff understand how to report any worries they might have about a pupil's welfare. Leaders respond swiftly to any concerns and work efficiently with external agencies to keep pupils safe.
Pupils are taught to stay safe.
They understand the basics of online safety. They know not to share personal information online. They explained that they would tell an adult if they had any worries.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
Some subjects are carefully planned and sequenced, such as English and mathematics. However, this is not the case in all foundation subjects. Leaders need to continue to develop the planning of foundation subjects so that knowledge and skills are coherently planned and sequenced, and end points are clearly identified.
It is clear from the actions that leaders have already taken to develop the curriculum further, and to train staff in how to deliver it, that they are in the process of bringing this about. . In early years and in Year 1, the curriculum is successfully adapted and designed to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.
In these year groups, knowledge and skills are organised in small enough steps to enable pupils with SEND to succeed. However, this is not yet consistently secure in Year 2. Leaders need to sharpen the planning for pupils with SEND in Year 2 so that they know more and remember more over time.
It is clear from the actions that leaders have already taken that they are in the process of bringing this about. . Most pupils attend school regularly.
Overall figures for whole-school attendance are in line with those seen nationally. However, some disadvantaged pupils do not consistently attend school regularly enough. Leaders need to continue the work they have already started to reduce the persistent absence of disadvantaged pupils.