Dorney School

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About Dorney School

Name Dorney School
Ofsted Inspections
Mrs Sharifah Lee
Address Harcourt Close, Dorney Reach, Maidenhead, SL6 0DY
Phone Number 01628620871
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 201
Local Authority Buckinghamshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are safe because adults care for them well. Pupils enjoy playing and learning together. They respect each other and relationships in the school are strong.

The school is a calm and orderly place because pupils behave well. They understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Staff are quick to identify and sort out any falling out between pupils.

Pupils work with each other effectively, listening to each other and debating their ideas maturely. Occasionally, their concentration can wander in lessons. While pupils are generally motivated to try their best, their achievement varies across subjects.

Children in the early years get... off to a great start, learning to take turns and quickly settling into positive routines.

Pupils take the school's motto, 'Respect, collaborate, grow', seriously. They rightly value the wide range of activities the school offers throughout the year, which develops their interests and character.

Staff have high expectations for pupils' personal development. Pupils voted onto the school council and eco council make a real contribution to school life. The 'school ambassadors' act as role models to other pupils.

Pupils experience a number of different sports, often representing the school in competitions, and also develop their artistic talents.

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

The curriculum varies in its effectiveness across the school. Pupils recognise this.

They achieve well in some subjects but this is not consistent. Leaders and teachers identify the needs of pupils with special educational and/or disabilities (SEND) accurately but these are not always met in lessons. Teachers' checks on pupils' learning are more effective in subjects like English and mathematics than in other subjects.

There are clear strengths in teachers' subject expertise but not all of them have the knowledge they need to teach all aspects of the curriculum effectively. In Reception, however, the curriculum is strong, which means that children acquire important knowledge securely.

While most pupils learn to read well, an important minority of weaker readers are quite far behind other pupils.

They need to catch up rapidly. The support that they receive is not always precise enough. More generally, pupils are enthusiastic readers and use the school library regularly.

Children in Reception learn phonics effectively. Pupils really enjoy sharing and discussing books and stories. They experience a diverse range of engaging texts.

Pupils' wider development is a key strength of the school. Leaders are passionate about this. Pupils value and welcome people from all backgrounds.

They understand that accepting others is a vital part of life in modern Britain. Racism is not tolerated and pupils have a strong understanding of equality and social justice. They get the right support for their mental health.

From the early years onwards, they learn about healthy living and relationships. There is a clear focus on pupils' spiritual development, through assemblies, times of reflection, visits to places of worship and close links with the local church. Pupils are knowledgeable about the whole range of faiths and beliefs in the community and the country.

Pupils benefit from an interesting range of activities, which enrich the curriculum. These include visiting speakers who come into school and trips to historical sites and cultural events.

Leaders have improved some key aspects of the school since the last inspection.

Most importantly, they have rightly prioritised making sure that pupils are safe in school. They have ensured that early years provision is securely good. Although recently introduced, the approach to teaching early reading is now more effective.

Leaders, governors and trustees have an accurate view of the school's effectiveness. They know what needs to improve next and what actions to take. Although at an early stage, leaders' work to improve the curriculum shows insight and focus.

They have secure plans in place to improve teachers' subject knowledge.

There are, however, important aspects of leadership that need to improve further. In particular, subject leaders are not yet having enough impact on improving pupils' achievement.

Governors and trustees hold leaders to account more effectively than they did at the time of the previous inspection. Governors have added to their expertise and sharpened their processes for evaluating leaders' actions. However, their roles in checking the progress of current and future priorities for improvement are not defined clearly enough.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff are knowledgeable about safeguarding risks because of the comprehensive training leaders provide. Adults refer any concerns promptly to leaders, which are then followed up swiftly.

Pupils receive the right help and support, including from external agencies when appropriate. Governors and trustees keep a tight oversight of this aspect of the school's work. While leaders ensure that crucial information is recorded well, they do not always note all of the actions they are taking to support pupils.

However, this does not put pupils at risk of harm. Leaders make the right checks on new staff. Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The quality of the curriculum across subjects is too variable. Pupils do not achieve as well as they should, including those with SEND. Leaders need to make sure that the curriculum is well designed in every subject and that staff have the right subject knowledge in order to deliver the full curriculum effectively.

• A minority of pupils are behind in their reading. They are not catching up quickly enough. Leaders must make sure that support for these pupils is precisely matched to their needs, so that these pupils' fluency, accuracy and confidence improves rapidly.

• While leaders' records about safeguarding contain the right critical information, they are not fully complete. Although no pupils are at risk because of this, it means that not all relevant information is kept together. Leaders should make sure that they record any ongoing support or monitoring that is in place for vulnerable pupils.

• Subject leaders' and governors' monitoring is not fully effective. Their work does not have as much impact as it should. They need to have clearly defined roles that set out the ways in which they contribute to evaluating how effective improvements are.

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