Howard Primary School

Name Howard Primary School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Address Dering Place, Croydon, CR0 1DT
Phone Number 02086884216
Type Primary
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 409 (51.6% boys 48.4% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 20.6
Local Authority Croydon
Percentage Free School Meals 24%
Percentage English is Not First Language 53.7%
Persisitent Absence 8.7%
Pupils with SEN Support 10.5%
Catchment Area Indicator Available Yes
Last Distance Offered Available No
Highlights from Latest Full Inspection (01 December 2011)
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Information about the school

This is an average-sized primary school. The large majority of pupils are from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and the proportion that speaks English as an additional language is much higher than average. Similar proportions of pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities and while the numbers are falling overall, there are an increasing number at the higher levels of need. The proportion known to be eligible for free school meals is much higher than average. A charitable group, Mulberry Bush, provides the nursery and before- and after-school provision and these were not part of this inspection.

Main findings

The quality of care, guidance and support at Howard Primary is exceptional and is one of the most significant outstanding features of this good school. It makes a major contribution to the outstanding outcomes the school secures for its pupils, including their outstanding achievement. ‘Staff seem to genuinely care about the development and care of each and every child,’ was how one parent put it. Pupils make good progress to attain high levels by the time they leave. They are rightly proud of their achievements, displayed extensively throughout the school, helping to create the vibrant and purposeful learning atmosphere. Pupils enjoy school, reflected in high levels of attendance. They have an extremely strong voice in their education and well-being and the school seeks and uses pupils’ views to influence numerous aspects of its work. Pupils have an excellent understanding of how to adopt healthy lifestyles and they report feeling safe at school at all times. All of these aspects of the school’s work are outstanding, along with pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Children make a sound start in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Positive relationships with adults support them to engage satisfactorily in activities and they begin to develop independence. However, though they enjoy the tasks and activities provided, these do not always have enough challenge to promote consistently good gains in their learning. Similarly, in the rest of the school, though teaching is good overall, some satisfactory teaching remains, particularly where teachers do not adapt work well enough to meet the needs of different groups, especially pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This leads to inconsistencies in rates of progress across the school. Progress in writing lags behind reading and mathematics, and for boys in particular is largely satisfactory. Though motivated by writing for real purposes and the activities teachers use to stimulate ideas, pupils do not have sufficient opportunities to practise, develop and apply their skills to produce longer pieces of writing. Leaders at different levels, including the governing body, are relentless in seeking further improvements and ‘Reaching for excellence’, the school’s motto. The headteacher and the deputy headteacher work effectively together and embed their ambitions for the school well. Reflective of many positive comments from parents and carers about the long-serving headteacher, one commented how he ‘is always visible and available’. Significant improvements the school has made since the previous inspection, including raising pupils’ achievement from good to outstanding, demonstrate the school’s good capacity to improve further. The considerably increased effectiveness of the governing body ensures it is now an important factor in this good capacity. Together with the school’s leaders, governors have an accurate understanding of the school’s performance and the plans to tackle the areas requiring improvement. The significant strengths in pupils’ outcomes, enhanced by the school’s excellent partnerships, mean that the school provides outstanding value for money.