Benhall Infant School

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About Benhall Infant School

Name Benhall Infant School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Miss Nicola Morris
Address Robert Burns Avenue, Benhall, Cheltenham, GL51 6PS
Phone Number 01242234717
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 4-7
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 179
Local Authority Gloucestershire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Benhall Infant School is a special place where pupils succeed at being 'the best they can be'. Pupils are keen to learn from feedback, embrace challenge and persevere if they find something difficult.

They call this 'purple learning'. It is the thread that runs through everything the school does.

Staff take the time to get to know pupils as individuals.

They use this knowledge to construct an ambitious and engaging curriculum. Staff give pupils widespread opportunities to excel in cooking, designing, art and science.

Pupils live up to the 'ready, respectful and safe' expectations in the classroom, outdoors and in dedicated learning areas.

St...aff rarely need to remind pupils about their behaviour. Friendship issues and unkind behaviour are uncommon. If they did happen, pupils know that they would get the help they need.

Leaders actively encourage pupils to take on leadership roles in school and the community. For example, the school council look for pupils displaying positive learning and award 'purple hearts'. Pupils are proud to organise charity events and lead assemblies.

The vast majority of parents hold positive views of the school. Many comment on how staff empower children to be confident, curious and caring individuals.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The headteacher leads with an unfaltering commitment to pupils and staff.

Staff are passionate about working here. They report that leaders are supportive of their workload and well-being. Governors share leaders' ambitions and hold them to account effectively.

Leaders have worked resolutely to improve the reading curriculum. They have successfully introduced a new and rigorous approach to phonics. This starts in pre-school.

Staff introduce children to rhymes, sounds and words to prepare them for reading. In Reception and Year 1, children confidently read and write the sounds they should know. Staff expertly match pupils' reading books to the sounds they learn.

This helps pupils to read confidently and fluently. Leaders have rightly identified that a minority of pupils in Year 2 do not read as fluently as they should. Well-trained staff provide effective support to help these pupils to catch up.

Leaders have introduced a 'dream read challenge' to inspire pupils to read more widely. Pupils talk avidly about the new books they have discovered. They enjoy earning badges to become reading ambassadors.

Parents value how staff hold workshops to involve them in their children's learning.

Leaders have reviewed and improved the school's 'continuous provision' curriculum in the past year. They have made sure the early years curriculum prepares children for Year 1.

Careful thought has gone into creating coherent sequences of learning in all subjects. Teachers plan opportunities for pupils to revisit and practise what they have learned. For example, in mathematics, pupils play games to consolidate counting in tens.

Leaders recognise that they are still defining the important knowledge pupils need to learn in a few subjects. As a result, pupils, including children in the early years, do not yet build a sufficient depth of understanding in all subjects.

Learning extends beyond the classroom.

Pupils apply what they know to new learning in the children's kitchen, science lab or workshop. Across the school, attractive displays of pupils' work show the wide-ranging concepts pupils master.

Teachers assess pupils' knowledge regularly.

They know the gaps they have and adjust learning accordingly. However, as the curriculum is new, not all subject leaders know if pupils retain knowledge in the long term. The systems for checking this are at an early stage of development in some subjects.

Leaders, including those in the pre-school, identify pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) early and effectively. They provide an impressive range of support and therapy to help manage pupils' precise needs. Leaders engage well with parents to develop pupils' learning plans.

Pupils with SEND learn well alongside their peers.

Pupils rise to the high expectations staff have of their behaviour. They become independent from a young age.

Pupils share, take turns and work together effectively. Clear routines mean that lessons flow without disruption. The few pupils who struggle to manage their emotions receive effective support from adults.

Leaders enrich the curriculum through trips, events and experiences. For example, pupils work with visitors, such as a local chef, to gain an insight into the world of work. Visits to a nearby castle and piano lessons broaden pupils' cultural awareness.

Looking after the school pets encourages care for animals. By learning about different families, pupils improve their understanding of differences. They say that 'We treat everyone the same' and 'make good choices' at Benhall.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders prioritise pupils' safety and well-being. Staff receive regular training, so they know how to notice and report any signs of concern.

Leaders respond swiftly to support pupils in need of help. They do not hesitate to escalate concerns when required. Leaders keep accurate records of checks on the suitability of staff and visitors.

Governors regularly check aspects of the school's safeguarding work.

Staff teach pupils to understand age-appropriate risks, including online safety and first aid. Pupils know who to talk to if they have any worries.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a few subjects, leaders have not made clear the precise knowledge they want pupils to know and remember, including in the early years. This means that pupils do not gain the depth of understanding they could in these subjects. Leaders should identify the essential knowledge that pupils need to learn in all subjects.

• Leaders' systems for checking how pupils remember the intended learning over time are at an early stage of development. Consequently, not all subject leaders have a detailed understanding of what pupils know and remember. In some foundation subjects, leaders should ensure that assessment checks if pupils know and remember the most important content in the long term.

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