Balliol Primary School

Name Balliol Primary School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 04 July 2012
Address Balliol Road, Kempston, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK42 7ER
Phone Number 01234300601
Type Primary
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 446 (52% boys 48% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 24.8
Local Authority Bedford
Percentage Free School Meals 22.6%
Percentage English is Not First Language 39.9%
Persisitent Absence 12.9%
Pupils with SEN Support 20.4%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

This is an average-sized lower school that serves an area of mixed housing on the outskirts of Bedford. Just over a half the pupils are of White British background. The proportion from minority ethnic groups is well above average and an above average number speak English as an additional language. The proportion of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs is above the national average, as is the number of pupils supported at school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs. The number of pupils who leave or join the school at other than the usual times is greater than that found nationally. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for a free school meal is well above average. The school holds several accreditations including the Silver Eco Award and the International Award. Additional childcare provision is made for children between the ages of three and nine years in the breakfast and after-school club, which is managed by the school. There is also an established pre-school and a children’s centre on site: these are both run privately and not part of this inspection.

Key findings

This is a good school that has created an inclusive, positive caring climate for learning where each pupil is treated as an individual. Comments such as, ‘Balliol Lower is a brilliant school where all the staff make the children and parents feel very welcome and part of it’ reflect the views of many parents and carers. However, the school is not outstanding yet because teaching is not yet ensuring that all pupils make consistently outstanding gains in their learning in lessons over time. Achievement is good. All pupils, including those children in the Nursery and Reception classes, make good progress from low starting points because of predominantly good teaching. They attain standards that are just above national expectations by the end of Year 4 in English and mathematics. Pupils whose circumstances make them vulnerable and those who sometimes exhibit challenging behaviour respond very positively to excellent levels of individualised care. Their achievement in basic skills is equally good. Behaviour in lessons and around the school overall is good. Provision supports good achievement in lessons and pupils display positive attitudes towards learning. Discussions with pupils and a review of survey results confirm that they feel safe in school. Good teaching exists in many classes and in some it is outstanding where the pace of learning is brisk and expectations are very high. However, in the few satisfactory lessons observed, teachers do not make best use of questions and information and communication technology (ICT) to support their teaching and accelerate pupils’ achievement. While verbal and written feedback is regular, inconsistencies in the quality of marking means that pupils are not always sure about what they need to do next to improve. Leadership and management of the school are good. The headteacher has created a dedicated staff team whose members aspire to drive forward further school improvement for the benefit of both the school and local community. Teaching is managed well. Performance management is effective and linked closely to school improvement. Curriculum provision is good and the promotion of the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a significant strength.