Farnham Common is a good school. It has several outstanding features which contribute to pupils' continuing high attainment in reading, writing and mathematics. Children get an excellent start to their education in the Early Years Foundation Stage which has been further developed since the last inspection.
This is due to the headteacher's passion for and deep understanding of how young children learn and thrive. In a very short time, under her enthusiastic leadership, the extensive woodland in the school grounds has been developed to promote a 'Forest School' where children learn very successfully in a natural, outdoors setting. She is supported ably by an enthusiastic and committed team of leaders wh...o, between them, are tailoring the already good curriculum to enable all pupils to benefit from these exceptional educational opportunities.
Parents and carers are as enthusiastic about the school as are their children. One parent or carer put it this way: 'The atmosphere at this school is happy and cheerful. This starts with the headteacher and spreads throughout the children and to the parents.'
Another one said: 'Forest School is fabulous. I hope it continues. The more interactive learning suits my child.'
As a result, pupils behave excellently. They also have an outstanding understanding of how to stay healthy. Members of the governing body understand how well pupils achieve and know accurately the school's strengths and weaknesses.
Many staff have benefited from expert professional development activities through outstanding partnerships with a range of providers. Self-evaluation judgements of pupils' learning are accurate and the senior leaders, as a team, are increasingly involved in tracking progress. These elements combine effectively to ensure the school has a good capacity for further improvement and consolidation of exciting developments.
The headteacher is working on a more distributive leadership structure with responsibilities for all staff but it is too early to see the full impact of this initiative. Pupils have above-average skills when they start in Year 1. They achieve well by the time they move to the junior school and reach well above average levels of attainment.
Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and those pupils who speak English as an additional language also achieve well. Pupils' behaviour and attitudes to being healthy are outstanding. They apply their literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills exceptionally well when they collaborate in teams and this adds significantly to their enjoyment of learning and prepares them well for their next schools.
They contribute to charities and take a very active role in preserving the environment through recycling and walking to school. At present there is some variation in the generally good quality of teaching. Occasionally, some groups of pupils do not always make the progress of which they are capable.
Planned tasks suit the needs of most pupils but are insufficiently challenging for the more able or sometimes too difficult for those pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The learning needs of boys have been addressed very well through Forest School provision, new teaching practices for writing and a curriculum based on first-hand experiences in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Such planned experiences are now extending into Years 1 and 2.
Pupils are well cared for and confident about who to consult if there is a problem. Safeguarding procedures are good and the governing body systematically monitors all aspects of health and safety. The school is a welcoming and harmonious place to learn, reflecting the cohesive school community and outstanding links with parents and carers.
There is no discrimination and the school's vigilance regarding equality of opportunity means all pupils have access to whatever the school offers.
Information about the school
Farnham Common is a smaller-than-average infant school. It has six classes, two for each year group from Reception to Year 2.
Nursery-age children attend part time in the mornings. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is well below average. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average; their needs include moderate learning difficulties, speech, language and communication, and emotional, social and behavioural difficulties.
Around 37% of pupils come from minority ethnic backgrounds. The school holds Healthy Schools status, silver Eco and bronze IT awards. It has received the Royal Horticultural Society school gardening award.