Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School

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About Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School

Name Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Hannah Rimmer
Address 154 Sandridge Road, St Albans, AL1 4AP
Phone Number 01727852106
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 3-7
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 309
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Bernards Heath Infant and Nursery School continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils say that their school is a place where they can learn and play safely. They are fully involved in activities throughout the school day.

Pupils explore and discover during playtimes. Across the school, pupils manage their behaviour well and show independence in what they do.

The reliable, good behaviour of pupils shows they understand how to be part of a respectful community.

They respond to routines that encourage them to be polite. Pupils understand what bullying is, but they rarely see anyone being unkind. They identify the grown-ups in school an...d at home who help them.

Pupils are confident there is immediate help if anyone feels sad or worried.

Pupils learn strategies that help them cope with any emotional challenges they face. Pupils' feelings are cared about and considered.

For example, following school closures in the pandemic, pupils were welcomed back to school with a special letter and a small soft bear.

Pupils and their individual circumstances are understood. Pupils benefit from the strong connections made between home and school.

Parents and carers share wide-ranging feedback about the strengths of the school to support their children. Bernards Heath is a place where pupils are nurtured and develop their individual characters.

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

Leaders have completed the work to ensure pupils throughout the school study a broad curriculum.

Leaders are ambitious for, and have high expectations of, what pupils can achieve from the moment they join Nursery. This ensures the curriculum for children in the early years prepares children for learning in Year 1.

Adults in the early years setting are skilled and attentive to the needs of young children.

Children are well cared for and are encouraged in all their learning. This motivates them to do their best.

A new programme for teaching phonics is beginning to support the development of pupils' early reading well.

Pupils take home books that are well matched to their current knowledge. This is contributing to pupils becoming fluent readers. There are established routines in place to help the small number of pupils at risk of falling behind with phonics.

However, staff have less confidence with how to adapt the new programme and resources to maximise the impact of this support. Leaders are providing additional guidance and training to refine the targeted help teachers and support staff provide.

Across the school, pupils achieve well because of the strong specialist knowledge of teachers.

Pupils have the opportunity to revisit and practise using what they have learned. However, in some areas of the curriculum, the opportunity for pupils to rehearse what they have been learning could be more explicit in leaders' curriculum thinking. Leaders have already started work to make sure curriculum intentions are refined.

This is to ensure teachers carefully plan opportunities for pupils to embed key knowledge in their long-term memory, in all subjects.

Leaders are determined that pupils are nurtured and receive the support they need to achieve success. All staff are committed to this work and know pupils and their individual barriers to learning well.

Staff work effectively with all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), to access the curriculum. Pupils with SEND have individualised plans to enable them to access lessons alongside their peers. Staff who work with those with the greatest needs are systematic in their approach.

This is making a positive difference to these pupils.

Well-established expectations for conduct mean that pupils behave well throughout the school. Pupils cooperate with staff and there are very few disruptions in class.

On the rare occasion where this does happen, teachers respond quickly to make sure learning is not disrupted. Pupils say adults in school treat them fairly.

Pupils' wider development is embedded throughout the curriculum.

Pupils benefit from exploring cultural diversity, for example through the school's recent focus on an anti-racism agenda. Pupils are taught the knowledge they need to know how to keep themselves safe, including when online. Pupils know it is important to never give up.

Pupils expressed this by sharing that 'trying something tricky helps grow your brain'.

Leaders, including governors, have been critically evaluative of their own work. This has led to effective, ongoing improvements.

Governors have shown dedication to consider the well-being and workload of staff in school. Leaders and staff demonstrated high levels of commitment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents say that the care and attention adults give impacts positively on the experiences of their children.

In discussion with the headteacher, the inspector agreed that early reading and the implementation of the curriculum may usefully serve as a focus for the next inspection.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders have a proactive attitude to safeguarding children.

Systems in place are clear and well managed. All staff have had regular training to spot signs that a child may be at risk. Staff are not complacent.

They adopt the attitude that 'it could happen here'. When concerns about a child's safety or well-being are shared by anybody, these are immediately listened to and acted upon.

All pupils, including in the early years, learn how to keep themselves safe.

From the earliest stage, adults teach pupils that their bodies are precious. Pupils learn to respect personal boundaries.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The programme in place for teaching phonics is recently established.

Leaders should ensure the work to further refine the systems in place to help pupils keep up with their phonics learning is completed. Leaders need to ensure that staff working with the small number of pupils who need targeted support have the necessary training and guidance to complete this work most efficiently. This will ensure all pupils make the best possible start with their phonics to keep up with their peers.

• In a small number of curriculum plans, leaders do not always make clear the most important knowledge pupils need to revisit and regularly practise. Leaders should complete the work already underway to ensure that all curriculum plans detail the key content pupils should remember and recall fluently. Leaders need to ensure that teachers provide opportunities for pupils to consolidate this knowledge throughout the curriculum.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good. This is called a section 8 inspection of a good or outstanding school, because it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection.

However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection. Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour, or the quality of education, we will deem the section 8 inspection as a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the second section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be good in October 2011

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