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Birch Hill Primary School continues to be a good school.
What is it like to attend this school?
Teachers make lessons interesting. Pupils enjoy learning about other cultures, for example when handling Sikh artefacts.
They debate arguments, for example 'for and against' having rules, with enthusiasm. Pupils learn reading, writing and mathematics successfully.
Pupils say they have lots of friends.
They feel safe. At lunchtimes, pupils enjoy scrambling over tyres and practising their football skills. Playground buddies help other pupils to join in games and ensure no one gets left out.
Pupils fall out occasionally but there is always an adult to help. Bullyi...ng is rare.
Most pupils behave well.
Staff expect pupils to follow the 'golden' rules to 'be safe, respectful, honest, and ready to learn', both in and out of school. Pupils move around the school sensibly. They are attentive in lessons.
Pupils listen carefully and follow instructions. Adults sort out any poor behaviour promptly.
The school is at the centre of the community.
Pupils borrow books from the library next door and exhibit work in the local arts centre. Pupils build confidence when performing Shakespeare in a nearby theatre and learn science at the local park. They take part in regular sports events with local schools.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders and governors are ambitious for pupils to succeed. The school has just been through a lengthy staffing restructure. Staff are now available to support pupils in lessons more frequently, and to supervise a wider range of activities at lunchtimes.
Most staff are positive about these changes and feel well supported by leaders. Staff are protected successfully from excessive workload.
Reading is a high priority for the school.
Pupils learn phonics (letters and the sounds they represent) in a logical order, beginning in the Nursery. Any pupils who fall behind get help to catch up quickly. There is a school-wide focus on comprehension skills, such as being able to retrieve, interpret and predict.
Pupils develop these skills progressively. They enjoy reading and listen regularly to a variety of texts read aloud.
Leaders know the school well and have plans to make it even better.
They are keen to work closely with parents and carers. They send messages electronically and have regular 'meet the teacher' events. Parents appreciate the learning activities that they can take part in with pupils.
Some parents, however, are unhappy with the quality of communication from leaders, and want to know more about how well their children are doing.
Pupils learn quickly. Their learning builds successfully on previous lessons when teaching follows a logical sequence.
Staff ask pupils questions to help them recap and to make links in their understanding. Staff give pupils support if work is too hard and make it more difficult when work is too easy. As a result, the level of challenge is just right and disruption to learning is uncommon.
Leaders have planned new topics to link science, geography, history, art, and design technology (DT) together. They have begun to put these new plans in place. The plans ensure that content, skills and vocabulary are taught progressively in these subjects across the school.
Leaders are aware that staff will need more support and training to ensure the plans are fully in place by the end of the school year.
Staff understand pupils' additional needs, including disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Staff help these pupils take part in lessons successfully.
They are given extra support and resources so that they can learn alongside their classmates. Leaders do need, however, to do more to ensure that disadvantaged pupils, and those with SEND, benefit fully from the wider opportunities organised by the school, especially out-of-school activities.
Children in early years settle in quickly when they first start.
They enjoy taking part in a variety of activities, for example Nursery children enjoy sharing books in the cosy book nook and Reception children learn to count to 20 in the outdoor playground. Children are taught to be independent and to follow a simplified version of the school's behaviour code. They are well prepared for key stage 1.
Pupils have a wide range of opportunities. They learn how to care for others, for example when sending books to a school in Sierra Leone. Pupils find out about different cultures when listening to visiting speakers such as a rabbi.
They experience wonder when watching chicks hatch in school.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Pupils are safe at this school.
Staff have regular training. They understand what to do if there are concerns about a pupil's well-being. Staff keep safety records up to date and deal with any worries quickly.
Leaders make routine checks on new staff and any volunteers who want to help in school.Leaders have thought about particular risks in the local area. Pupils learn how to stay safe, including when playing outdoors after school and when online.
Staff work together successfully with families and local agencies to make sure that pupils get help when it is needed.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
Leaders have used the national curriculum to create new plans for teaching science, geography, history, art and DT. These subjects are being linked together by topics and a sequence of knowledge, skills and vocabulary.
The plans are not yet fully in place. Leaders need to make sure that staff are given the support and training necessary to complete the planning and implementation of these new topics. .
Leaders and governors are determined that all pupils fulfil their potential. However, they need to increase the participation of disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND in curriculum enrichment opportunities, especially those activities that take place out of school time. .
Leaders need to ensure that parents and carers are kept even more up to date about their children's achievement and well-being. This will ensure that all parents can support their children's learning fully.Background
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 school or non-exempt outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that the school could now be better than good or that standards may be declining, 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 convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.
This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged Birch Hill Primary School to be good on 2–3 March 2016.
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