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Pupils are happy and safe at Dovecotes Primary School.
They are proud of their school and appreciate how caring and supportive the staff are. Pupils share and embody the school's motto of 'spread your wings, learn new things, fly as high as you can'.
Governors, leaders and all staff share an ambition and passion for every child to do their best.
Staff set high expectations of how well pupils learn. In turn, pupils demonstrate highly positive attitudes to learning and are keen to meet the expectations their teachers set.
The behaviour of pupils is a strength, and disruption in lessons is rare.
Pupils are polite and helpful. Relationships betw...een pupils, and between pupils and adults, are very positive. Smiles are everywhere at this school.
Pupils know what bullying is and say it sometimes happens, but rarely. When it does, they trust adults to sort it out. Leaders' approach to managing pupils' behaviour through restorative conversation is proving very successful.
Pupils have become skilled at talking about their behaviour and feelings. They show empathy for others, and this contributes towards the school's warm, supportive culture.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have a clear vision for the curriculum at Dovecotes.
They have been deliberate in ensuring that the curriculum is right for the pupils at this school.
The way leaders have structured curriculum content in each subject ensures that learning builds over time. In most subjects, including mathematics and English, pupils learn well and produce high-quality work.
Teachers and support staff have strong subject knowledge across the curriculum. They present information to pupils in ways that make learning enjoyable, engaging and successful. However, in a small number of subjects, leaders have not decided on precisely what pupils should learn in enough detail.
This means that pupils may not learn as well as they could, and teachers find it more difficult to assess how well pupils are learning.
All staff support pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) effectively and expect them to do well. Leaders manage the provision for pupils with SEND successfully, so they receive the support they need.
Leaders prioritise the teaching of reading. They make sure that they train all teaching staff to teach phonics effectively. In the early years and in key stage 1, children gain the reading skills and phonic knowledge they need.
As a result, most become fluent and confident readers before entering Year 3. If pupils are still finding reading difficult in Year 3, teachers provide additional phonics support, which helps them to catch up.Children get off to a positive start in the early years, from Little Doves to Nursery and Reception.
They settle quickly and learn how to get along with each other. The environment is calm and happy, and children are active and involved in learning. Early years staff know the children well and meet regularly to plan activities.
However, the methods by which adults monitor how well children are learning are not structured well enough. This means that, sometimes, planned learning may not be tailored as well to children's needs as it should be.
The curriculum at Dovecotes goes beyond the academic.
Leaders provide meaningful, well-considered opportunities for pupils' wider personal development. This includes a range of clubs, including football, choir, dodgeball and drama. Many pupils attend after-school clubs, and they often attend more than one.
Pupils contribute to the life of the school in many ways. These include becoming 'positive bees', reading buddies, science leads, play leaders and school councillors. Pupils take these roles seriously, and they contribute fully to the caring ethos of the school.
Pupils are very respectful to others. They understand equality well and talk sensitively about differences in people's lives. In this regard, the pupils at Dovecotes are well prepared for the next stage of their education.
Leaders and governors know the school well. Through their rigorous monitoring, they know what the school does well and what it needs to do to improve further. Staff feel very well supported by leaders and are proud to work at this school.
Governors and leaders always consider the workload and well-being of staff in the changes that they make.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders ensure that they train staff to recognise risks to pupils' safety and well-being.
All staff understand what to do if they have a concern about a pupil. Leaders respond quickly to provide help and involve other agencies if appropriate.
Those who lead safeguarding keep meticulous safeguarding records.
They know the pupils and their families well.
Through the curriculum, pupils learn how to keep themselves safe, both in the real world and online. Leaders organise activities and talks by visiting speakers to alert pupils to risks that are specific to the local area.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In a small number of subjects, the essential knowledge that pupils need is not clearly identified. This means that pupils may not learn as well as they could in these subjects. Leaders should ensure that they have identified the essential knowledge to help pupils build their understanding over time.
• Leaders have not ensured that assessment of children's learning in the early years is as carefully structured as it needs to be. Consequently, staff are less successful at identifying gaps in children's understanding and in providing the right targeted help. Leaders should ensure that assessment in the early years enables staff to match learning activities more closely to children's needs.
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