Blackwood School

Name Blackwood School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 22 September 2011
Address Blackwood Road, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B74 3PH
Phone Number 01213531876
Type Primary
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 703 (50% boys 50% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 25.8
Local Authority Walsall
Percentage Free School Meals 4%
Percentage English is Not First Language 16.2%
Persisitent Absence 2%
Pupils with SEN Support 7%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

Blackwood School is among the largest primary schools in the country. Two thirds of the pupils are from White British families, and a third are from minority ethnic backgrounds, mainly Indian. An average proportion of pupils speak English as an additional language. About five per cent of the pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities, which is well below average. At about two per cent, the proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is much lower than is usually found. The governing body manages the Little Robins wrap-around care for Nursery age children, which is registered for 16 children. It is also responsible for the Woodpeckers breakfast and after-school clubs, which include children from the Early Years Foundation Stage and pupils from Key Stages 1 and 2. Both Little Robins and Woodpeckers were inspected by the team. There have been significant changes to staffing, leadership and governance since the previous inspection. The headteacher has been in post for one year and at present there is an acting deputy headteacher. There are also a number of new members of the governing body, including a recently appointed Chair. The school has Healthy Schools status and the Activemark award.

Main findings

Blackwood is a good school. It has many strengths, not least pupils’ good progress and above average attainment. The quality of teaching and learning, and care, guidance and support has been improved substantially since the previous inspection and is now good. Pupils are enthusiastic learners who behave well and whose attendance levels are high. All adults in school, whether staff or members of the governing body, have an overriding ambition to ensure pupils have the best education possible. School self-evaluation is incisive and accurate. Ongoing improvement is planned, actioned and monitored thoroughly, with the result that the school has risen from satisfactory to good within a fairly short timescale. The headteacher has high expectations and provides great challenge to staff with very marked humour. The school has good capacity to maintain its rise. Senior leaders and the governing body recognise there are two key areas for improvement at present. While the curriculum is good and much improved over the judgements in the previous inspection report, the task of ensuring it is consistently exciting and adventurous, allowing pupils to manage their own learning and show resourcefulness and resilience, is not yet complete. Secondly, as members of the governing body themselves admit, their probing of school performance could be at greater depth. This is for the most part because the governing body has changed significantly in its membership. Nonetheless, the governing body is alert to pupils’ successes and difficulties in making consistent progress in their work, particularly in English and mathematics. Staff have worked well to improve pupils’ progress in English, particularly in writing. There are many examples of high quality writing across the school, not just from the higher attainers. It is, however, evident that generally, the higher attainers are challenged well in their work. The increased consistency of teaching quality has resulted in greater progress and higher attainment in all years, including the Early Years Foundation Stage, where provision and outcomes are good. Little Robins gives children in the Nursery a secure and caring environment in which to thrive and grow. The breakfast and after-school clubs are successful in fostering pupils’ good behaviour and relationships, and their enthusiasm for school. Because a large number of pupils attend, their enjoyment in the sessions has a strong influence on the approach to work in class.