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Capel-le-Ferne is a kind, warm and welcoming school, where staff and pupils happily strive to be the best they can be.
Respect is one of the school's values, and pupils have lots of it. The headteacher has created a culture where treating others with respect is important. The values of respect, creativity, confidence and independence are central to every aspect of the school's work.
Staff have high expectations of pupils. This includes those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Pupils rise to the challenge and enjoy their lessons.
They are attentive and give thoughtful suggestions, and most work hard and make good progress.
...Pupils behave well in lessons and at social times. In lessons, most pupils follow teachers' instructions.
They want to do well and want to learn. Pupils are motivated by the rewards system that the school uses.
Many pupils proudly get involved in the school's pupil panels.
These were set up to give pupils a voice about what happens in the school. Recently, pupils decided that they want to make the school more environmentally friendly. For example, they discussed how the school can make better use of the school's minibus to reduce reliance on cars.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The school has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, leaders have remained focused on improving the curriculum. They have paid particular attention to how well planned and sequenced each subject is.
Leaders have developed a curriculum that takes account of what pupils need to learn and when. This starts in Reception, where pupils get off to a good start. This is because the learning opportunities they experience prepare them well for what will come in Year 1 and beyond.
Despite this, the learning environment does not fully capture children's imagination. Leaders have plans in place to improve the physical environment. The school's curriculum progressively develops pupils' knowledge and skills as they move from Reception to Year 6.
As a result, pupils are prepared well for secondary school.
Pupils enjoy the different subjects they learn because they feel a sense of pride when they learn something new. Staff understand pupils' individual needs.
They know what approach is going to work best for each pupil. Some pupils receive extra help from staff. This is personalised so that pupils learn well in lessons.
Teachers are knowledgeable and they plan interesting lessons for pupils. They explain new learning clearly. They check what pupils have learned and remembered.
This helps them to make changes to their teaching so that pupils make good progress. However, teachers do not do this well enough in all subjects. As a result, some pupils do not move on in their learning quickly enough or move on without having understood what they have learned.
The teaching of phonics is consistent across the school because staff are trained well. Leaders' plans are successful in helping pupils to sound out and blend. This means that pupils read fluently and confidently.
Support from staff who have had extra training helps those pupils who struggle to read make quick progress. Pupils have many opportunities to read and be heard reading by adults. They enjoy using the library which is full of interesting and exciting books.
Pupils like coming to school, and they make lots of friends here. They value the time they spend together and talk, share stories and laugh with each other. They help each other and most get on well.
If they fall out, staff are there to help. Staff take time to find out about pupils' interests. This leads to positive staff-pupil relationships.
The personal development of pupils is good. They have many opportunities to take part in clubs, trips and activities that help them to develop their interests. For example, pupils enjoy rock climbing, biking and trampolining.
Visits to Dover Castle, Deal Castle and the Battle of Britain Memorial all help to enhance pupils' learning.
Leaders are supported well by governors who support and challenge in equal measure. They regularly ask questions of leaders and check what leaders are telling them is happening.
Governors bring different expertise to their roles. They understand these roles and carry them out well. The local authority challenges and supports leaders.
This is helpful in supporting leaders to improve the school.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders carry out checks on adults working at the school.
Despite this, some of the school's training records are disorganised. For example, during the inspection, some records of safeguarding training could not be easily found. Nevertheless, leaders ensure that staff are trained well so that they know what to do if they have safeguarding concerns about pupils.
Designated safeguarding leads take appropriate, timely actions to ensure that pupils and their families get the help they need. They document these actions well. However, sometimes, there are gaps in pupils' child protection records because the information is stored in different places.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Not all subject leaders know how well pupils are learning their subject. Consequently, they do not know if pupils have gaps in their knowledge and understanding. Leaders should ensure that there are whole-school assessment processes in place to check how well all pupils have learned and remembered the most important knowledge and skills to inform future curriculum planning.
• The learning environment in Reception lacks stimulating resources that capture children's imagination. It does not fully support leaders' ambition for children. Leaders need to further develop the indoor and outdoor provision so that it helps children in Reception develop fully across all areas of learning.
• Safeguarding record-keeping has some gaps. Consequently, leaders do not have a clear enough record of their decision-making and response to concerns. Leaders must ensure that any safeguarding concerns and actions taken are clearly recorded and well organised.
Records of safeguarding training are disorganised. This means that leaders are not easily able to evidence which staff have completed safeguarding training. Leaders must ensure that these records are more organised.
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