Elmhurst School


Name Elmhurst School
Website http://www.elmhurstschool.org
Ofsted Inspection Rating Inadequate
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school, converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.
Inspection Date 09 October 2018
Address Dunsham Lane, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2DB
Phone Number 01296481380
Type Primary
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 474 (50% boys 50% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 17.2
Academy Sponsor Great Learners Trust
Local Authority Buckinghamshire
Percentage Free School Meals 31.6%
Percentage English is Not First Language 59.9%
Persisitent Absence 12.6%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

information about the achievement of different groups. Written reports after governor

visits indicate that some governors’ feedback is more accurate than others. As a consequence of the above, governors’ evaluations of how well the school is doing are sometimes too generous and the challenge they provide is inconsistent. Governors are highly supportive of the school and very committed. Governors rightly recognised that they needed to strengthen leadership in the school, following a period of turbulence. In response to this, they have initiated the process of joining a multi-academy trust and successfully secured an interim executive headteacher from a local good school. Safeguarding The arrangements for safeguarding are effective and this aspect of the school’s work is better led than others. Well-functioning systems are in place for recording concerns and tracking the progress of any referrals made to the local authority. Designated leaders assiduously follow through on the referrals they make and carefully monitor the impact of planned support. Designated leaders are highly attuned to the safeguarding concerns that are most pertinent to the school’s context. They make sure that staff are properly trained and emphasise these issues in the training they lead. Designated leaders are especially diligent in following due processes when pupils take extended holidays. The new ‘learning for life’ programme includes topics that support pupils in staying safe. Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Inadequate Practice in teaching is inadequate because it does not enable pupils to develop the subject-specific skills and knowledge they need to make progress. Teaching in key stage 1 is slightly stronger than in key stage 2 but is not consistently effective. Across both key stages, teachers’ expectations of what pupils can do and achieve are too low. In too many classes, pupils are not given work that is sufficiently demanding. In some classes, teachers do not take enough account of what pupils already know and can do. The tasks teachers set most-able pupils do not enable them to apply their learning at a deep level. Teachers’ questioning is not always effective. It often involves a small number of pupils, during which time pupils not targeted or willing to answer the teachers’ questions become disengaged and sometimes disrupt the learning of others. As a result, the pace of learning slows. Some teachers do not insist that pupils meet the school’s behaviour expectations by, for example, following their instructions. There is mismatch between learning goals intended and pupils’ actual learning. The tasks teachers set do not enable pupils to demonstrate subject-specific skills and knowledge. For example, in history, pupils were required to draw and label the contents of an evacuee’s suitcase to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the Second World War evacuation programme. The task did not facilitate the learning goal intended by the teacher, although it had been shared with pupils. New approaches to improve writing have supported pupils in understanding the structures of different types of writing. However, too many pupils’ writing is not at the expected standard because their vocabulary does not have enough breadth and depth, and they do not confidently apply a range of grammatical structures. Pupils do not read enough high-quality whole texts in different genres that employ rich and varied language, including texts from our literary heritage. This has a negative impact on the quality of pupils’ writing. Teachers do not assess pupils’ learning effectively. They do not check whether the content they have taught has been properly learned. Day-to-day practice in assessment does not assist teachers in identifying gaps pupils have in their learning. Some exemplar material, which is meant to assist teachers in making accurate judgements, is assessed over-generously. In several subjects, pupils are taught facts and information that are wrong because : teachers’ subject knowledge is underdeveloped. Inspectors noted pupils being taught incorrect information in science, history and English and incorrect spellings of words. The leader responsible for phonics has made some changes that have led to improvements, but the teaching of early reading is not yet effective. The books pupils are provided with, in order to practise their phonics knowledge, do not enable them to do so. In some cases, when pupils encounter sounds that are unfamiliar, they guess and develop misconceptions, which slow their progress in reading further. Some teachers are not aware enough of the gaps pupils have in their phonics knowledge. Teaching does not support pupils in acquiring the vocabulary they need to grasp key concepts and knowledge. For example, in religious education, pupils’ explanations of the differences between world religions were very limited because of their lack of subject-specific vocabulary. There have been some recent improvements in the teaching of mathematics, which mean that some pupils are now required to apply their mathematical knowledge in problem-solving questions. These new approaches are not yet being consistently employed across the school. Personal development, behaviour and welfare Requires improvement Personal development and welfare The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare requires improvement. Although the school nurtures and cares for its pupils, this aspect of the school’s work is not yet good because some pupils are not committed to their learning. In several classes, when the pace is slow or when pupils are not given work that they find challenging enough, pupils lose concentration, become noisy and some disrupt others’ learning. The school has introduced a new personal development programme called ‘learning for life’. The programme covers a wide range of relevant well-chosen topics, including fundamental British values. It is too early to establish whether the programme is having a positive impact on pupils’ personal development and well-being. However, the topics planned indicate that the school is rightfully emphasising the importance of making healthy choices and reducing risk. Most parents who spoke to inspectors and completed Parent View were pleased with the support and nurture that the school provides for their youngsters. Weaknesses in some pupils’ vocabulary make it difficult for them to engage well with teaching or their own learning. Behaviour Most pupils are keen to learn and are respectful to their teachers. However, in a number of classes, particularly where teaching is less effective, some pupils disrupt the learning of others. They talk when the teacher talks, and several pupils told inspectors that they were distracted by the behaviour of others. Consequently, the behaviour of pupils requires improvement. Parent View responses and parental questionnaires carried out by the school indicate that parents are very positive about pupils’ behaviour. Around school, inspectors noted that pupils behaved well. Breaktimes and lunchtimes were orderly. The school has introduced an online system for recording behaviour incidents. The way the system presents some information is misleading. For example, when an incident concerns several pupils, it is recorded several times, which skews the figures. Last academic year, the school introduced a new approach to resolving disputes between pupils. Records from the online system show that, over the year, low-level behaviour incidents reduced, indicating that the new approach is helping to cut down on less serious incidents. However, the frequency of these low-level incidents is still too high. Last academic year, there was a rise in the number of serious behavioural incidents. These were carried out by a minority of pupils, many of whom have SEND. Although leaders provided support for these individual pupils, leadership and management of behaviour, including of serious behaviour incidents, are not effective. Alternative provision is used for a very small number of pupils. School leaders liaise well with leaders of off-site provision. Pupils who access this provision are given the support they need to improve their attendance and behaviour. Last year, persistent absence rates increased compared with the previous year. Some pupils take extended holidays abroad during term time, which has a negative impact on persistent absence figures. The school is working closely with families to encourage them to take trips abroad during school holidays. Outcomes for pupils Inadequate Pupils’ achievement over the past two years has been poor. The majority of pupils leave the school without the knowledge, skills and vocabulary needed to make a good start at secondary school. In 2018, according to early indications, only 41% of Year 6 pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics. According to the school’s own information, the achievement of current pupils is weak in several year groups, most notably in key stage 2. For example, nearly half of the pupils now in Year 5 started this academic year well below where they should be in reading, writing and mathematics. The work in their books suggests that pupils are not making the rapid progress required to catch up. In addition, across the school, some pupils have gaps in their learning for a variety of reasons, such as joining in the middle of the academic year. These gaps are not being identified and filled effectively enough. Disadvantaged pupils do not do well enough. Results from national tests and assessments in 2017 showed that their progress and attainment were well below average. In 2018, early indications suggest that disadvantaged pupils in key stage 2 made better progress in reading and writing than they did in the previous year. However, their progress in mathematics remained poor. Disadvantaged pupils currently in school do not make the rapid progress they need to catch up. In some year groups, their progress is weaker than that of their peers. Pupils do not achieve well enough in early reading. In 2017, the proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard in the phonics screening check was well below average. It improved in 2018 and 83% achieved the expected standard. However, pupils who do not reach the expected standard in Year 1 and Year 2 are not well enough supported to catch up in reading. Similarly, there are weaknesses in the teaching of reading in key stage 2 that impact on pupils’ outcomes. In 2017, pupils’ progress and attainment in reading were well below average in key stage 2 tests and assessments. Early performance data for 2018 shows that there have been some improvements in reading, notably in boys’ progress. However, overall, pupils achieved below average in reading in 2018 national tests. Throughout the school, pupils do not make enough progress in acquiring a rich and extensive vocabulary, which inhibits their achievement across a range of subjects. For example, the proportion of pupils achieving the expected standard in science in 2017 was well below average. Pupils with SEND make weaker progress from their starting points than do other pupils. Leaders do not have a sharp enough picture of the progress that this group is making. Outcomes in key stage 1 assessments are stronger than in key stage 2. However, work in books and observations of learning show that progress is not yet consistently strong. In 2018, pupils’ progress and attainment in writing in key stage 2 assessments improved compared with the previous year. Early years provision Requires improvement The early years is better than other aspects of the school but is not yet good. The senior leader responsible for the early years is new in post and has introduced some carefully considered approaches. She has a sharp and detailed understanding of how well the new approaches are working. She has accurately identified that the teaching of literacy is not yet consistently good across the early years setting. The outdoor area provides interesting opportunities for children to extend their knowledge and skills. Adults were observed using equipment to demonstrate key concepts, which helped children to learn. Some teachers’ and other adults’ expectations of children are too low. For example, expectations are not always high enough for children who have experienced one or more years of pre-schooling in the setting. Under the guidance of the leader responsible for the early years, adults are developing the way that they support children. However, there are some inconsistencies in how well assistants working alongside children ensure that they gain planned knowledge and skills through their play. For example, some adults do not develop children’s vocabularies as well as others. The early years leader has identified this training need and is working closely with staff to ensure that this aspect of practice is equally well developed across the setting. Children are generally safe and well looked after. They are adapting to new routines and most follow instructions from adults well. Occasionally, teachers do not follow through when they have asked children to give them their full attention and they fail to do so. There have been improvements in the proportion of children, including disadvantaged children, reaching a good level of development over the past couple of years. Children are increasingly better prepared for the academic demands of Year 1. School details Unique reference number 110286 Local authority Buckinghamshire Inspection number 10052918 This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005. Type of school Primary School category Community Age range of pupils 2 to 11 Gender of pupils Mixed Number of pupils on the school roll 460 Appropriate authority The governing body Chair David Gamble Interim headteacher Christabel Bunce Telephone number 01296 481380 Website www.elmhurst.bucks.sch.uk Email address [email protected] Date of previous inspection 24–25 June 2015

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an inadequate school Turbulence in leadership has led to a decline in the curriculum, teaching, and pupils’ outcomes. Leaders’ expectations are too low. Their evaluations of the school’s work to improve teaching, outcomes and behaviour are too generous. Too many pupils leave the school without reaching the standards in English and mathematics required for them to make a good start at secondary school. In 2017, pupils’ progress in key stage 2 declined compared with 2016. Early data for 2018 shows that, in some subjects, progress improved. However, the achievement of current pupils is too low, especially in key stage 2. Pupils’ vocabularies and their reading skills are not developed well enough. Pupils’ phonics knowledge is not embedded. The curriculum is not effective. Pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding in art, humanities and science are weak. Weaknesses in teaching, especially in teachers’ subject knowledge, mean the tasks they set do not enable pupils to gain the knowledge and skills intended. Persistent absence rates increased last academic year compared with the previous year. Some pupils disrupt the learning of others. Pupils and children do not always follow instructions. Approaches to assessment do not support pupils in catching up, nor assist teachers in gaining a clear picture of where there are gaps in pupils’ learning. Governors’ feedback to leaders has sometimes not been challenging enough. Governors have not always questioned how reliable and accurate information provided by the school is. The school has the following strengths Governors have sought to strengthen the school by joining a multi-academy trust. Leadership of safeguarding is effective. Pupils are well cared for and say they feel safe. Staff are complimentary about the school. Some new approaches in key stage 1 are having a positive impact. Teaching in mathematics has improved in some classes. Early years is stronger than other areas. Better teaching is leading to improved outcomes. The leader’s analysis of the setting is insightful.