Downs Barn School

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About Downs Barn School

Name Downs Barn School
Ofsted Inspections
Executive Head Mrs Kate Mathews
Address 69 Downs Barns Boulevard, Downs Barn, Milton Keynes, MK14 7NA
Phone Number 01908604430
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 3-7
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 90
Local Authority Milton Keynes
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are very proud of their school. They are safe, happy and incredibly kind towards each other. Pupils know that the school's values of respect, responsibility, resilience and reflection are at the heart of this thriving community.

Events throughout the year, such as the school's 'Day of Culture and Diversity', help to give pupils a sense of belonging. During these events, pupils and their families share cultural dress, foods, artefacts and customs with a sense of joy and celebration. Pupils' behaviour is consistently positive.

The school's commitment to inclusion and partnership work with parents helps pupils to sustain good behaviour inside the classroom. Pupils... love the care and support that they receive. One pupil represented the views of many, saying: 'Everyone is welcome to our school, and we accept everyone for who they are.'

Disadvantaged pupils consistently benefit from the extra-curricular activities that the school provides. Pupils value school trips, such as visits to London, the theatre, the local park, the library and the city centre. These are memorable experiences that help pupils to build confidence and develop their understanding of the world.

The school has high expectations for pupils' achievement and ensures that pupils learn effectively and are prepared for their next stage of education well.

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

Staff teach phonics highly effectively, including in the early years. A significant number of pupils arrive at the school with English as an additional language.

Pupils get thoughtful support that is adapted to their individual needs and catch up with their peers quickly. Pupils develop a love of reading. They are excited by the school library and the chance to read to adults regularly.

Pupils enjoy traditional tales and rhymes as well as carefully chosen texts that represent a range of languages and authors linked to pupils' backgrounds. Books that help pupils with learning phonics are matched closely to the sounds they have learned. Most pupils achieve well in reading by the end of key stage 1.

The school is ambitious for all pupils. In the early years, staff create thoughtful tasks that build children's knowledge and vocabulary. The early years environment is rich in language and independent activities that help children to learn consistently well.

Where necessary, staff work closely with agencies such as speech and language therapists to remove barriers to learning that might exist for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Transitions into school and then from the early years into Year 1 are successful and help children to settle into routines quickly.

The school's curriculum is carefully designed and sequenced.

Staff have secure subject knowledge. Disadvantaged pupils' needs are considered thoughtfully. Staff make adaptations to learning that are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are having a positive impact on disadvantaged pupils' learning.

Highly effective work with parents and carers helps to secure strong partnerships. Parents are very supportive of the school. Staff are committed to creating engaging lessons that match the curriculum intent closely.

All staff are proud to work at the school and feel supported with their workload and well-being. However, in some subjects, such as history and art and design, there is some variability in the way staff check and revisit pupils' essential knowledge and vocabulary. This means that lessons do not always build on pupils' prior knowledge effectively.

As a result, some pupils have gaps and misconceptions that are not addressed, therefore not all pupils achieve as highly as they could.

Pupils behave well. They take turns when participating in activities during lessons and when playing together on the playground.

When pupils move around the school they hold doors open for each other and are very respectful. The behaviour policy is implemented fairly and consistently. If any pupils do need extra support to behave well, this is managed sensitively.

Pupils have an exceptional range of activities and support for their personal development that build on the school's values systematically and deliberately. There are a wide range of clubs, such as football, basketball, gymnastics, arts and crafts, singing and gardening. Pupils have very positive attitudes to their education.

Governors have a precise understanding of the strengths and areas to develop for the school. They understand their statutory responsibilities. Governors support and challenge the school well.

They ensure that improving pupils' attendance rightly remains a priority. Pupils' attendance is improving. If pupils have any barriers to attending regularly, staff work with parents and families effectively.

The school analyses and understands the individual reasons for pupils' absence, intervening quickly. However, there are still a small number of pupils who do not attend school as often as they should, and this has a negative impact on their achievement.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some wider curriculum subjects, the school does not yet provide enough opportunities to check and revisit essential knowledge and vocabulary. This means that a small number of pupils do not build and connect their learning as effectively as they could. The school should support staff to implement the curriculum consistently well, including precise curriculum components that will help pupils achieve the highest possible outcomes.

• A small number of pupils do not attend school as regularly as they should. As a result, they miss out on the full range of opportunities that are available to them in school, as well as essential learning. The school should continue to do all that it can to support pupils with improving their attendance.

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