Holmesdale Community Infant School

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About Holmesdale Community Infant School

Name Holmesdale Community Infant School
Website http://www.holmesdale.surrey.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Sharon Mullarkey
Address Alma Road, Reigate, RH2 0BY
Phone Number 01737243678
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 3-7
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 337
Local Authority Surrey
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Adults at Holmesdale put children at the heart of all they do. Staff show care for every child. The school is inclusive and leaders strive to get to know each child inside out.

Pupils behave well in lessons and work hard. They speak cheerfully about what they do at school. Lunch and break times are a particular favourite.

Staff ensure that there are equipment and activities to keep pupils engrossed outside. Pupils talk fondly of friendships and looking out for each other. They know what bullying is and it rarely occurs.

Pupils feel safe and protected.

Leaders' high expectations start with instilling independence right from the start of Nursery. They ...teach children the social and practical skills they need.

For example, the youngest children are taught table manners. They can use a knife and fork correctly when eating.

Enrichment beyond the academic curriculum is important to leaders' vision.

Visitors come into school to teach pupils new things. Staff make the most of the local area to give pupils first-hand experiences. Pupils are taught important values that prepare them well when they leave at the end of Year 2.

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

Since the headteacher's arrival, she has set about implementing a well-thought-out curriculum that gives pupils exactly what they need. Across subjects, knowledge and skills are identified and sequenced from Nursery through to Year 2. Leaders have pressed on with their plans despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are passionate about providing the best for pupils.

Leaders have carefully checked the impact on pupils' learning from the COVID-19 pandemic. They have wisely concentrated on the teaching of core skills.

Leaders revised the school timetable to enable pupils to practise further their reading, writing and mathematical skills. In early years, teachers are actively promoting children's communication and language and physical development throughout the day. All of these measures are working effectively.

Having chosen ambitious content for the curriculum, leaders are training staff to deliver it well. Teachers are clear how a unit of work is sequenced so that they build on what pupils already know. However, at times, staff lack expert subject knowledge.

When this is the case, they tend to think about the activity first, rather than the knowledge pupils need to learn.

In lessons, teachers check pupils' understanding carefully. They look out for typical misconceptions when pupils learn something new and tackle them quickly.

However, other than in English and mathematics, leaders have not broken down assessments to match the steps of learning in the curriculum. Consequently, staff are not necessarily checking that pupils have remembered key knowledge within a unit of work.

Reading underpins everything in the school's curriculum.

Leaders ensure that pupils read a diverse range of books to open their minds and learn about the world. Leaders have recently introduced a new phonics programme to teach pupils how to read, write and spell. The implementation of this is at an early stage, but all the signs are positive so far.

Leaders have rightly prioritised staff training. They make it clear to staff that they must follow the programme as laid out. Staff are familiarising themselves with teaching phonics in a consistent and effective way.

They are making sure that pupils are reading the right books that come with the phonics programme.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported. The SEND coordinator knows what is happening for every child.

In lessons, teachers ensure that resources and activities are adapted without compromising on ambition. For pupils who may struggle to manage their emotions, leaders quickly involve other professionals where support is needed.

A wide range of clubs are on offer for pupils.

The elected school councillors suggest ideas to bring about positive change. Pupils take part in charity work to develop their understanding of helping others. They are respectful and tolerant to anyone who may look or be different to them.

Pupils enjoy nominating a friend to receive a coveted friendship school award.

Governors and trustees are strategic and focused on improving the school. They challenge leaders well and probe in depth the impact of leaders' actions to ensure high outcomes for all pupils.

Staff feel that leaders look out for them. It is a happy team. Teachers who are new to the profession are given the time they need to get to grips with the new curriculum and school systems.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Pupils' safety is paramount at this school. Leaders do their utmost to look out for them.

Staff are well trained to raise a concern. They know that leaders take swift action and refer to external agencies if required. Adults are vigilant and clear that 'it could happen here'.

The headteacher keeps detailed safeguarding records and discusses cases and actions regularly with her team. If a child does not arrive at school, staff investigate immediately to find out where the child is. Some safer recruitment checks for new governors were not in place, but leaders quickly addressed this during the inspection.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Staff's subject knowledge across the whole curriculum is not consistently as strong as it needs to be. As a result, sometimes, teachers are not clear how to set work that focuses on what pupils need to learn next. Leaders should ensure that ongoing professional development for staff is aligned with the teaching of the new curriculum to help pupils build knowledge sequentially.

• In the foundation subjects, assessment is focused on end points. This summative approach does not tell leaders enough about how well pupils are learning in all subjects. Leaders need to ensure that teachers' use of assessment in subjects other than English and mathematics checks precisely if pupils have retained key learning along the way.

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