John Donne Church of England Primary School

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About John Donne Church of England Primary School

Name John Donne Church of England Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Anita Whitehurst
Address High Street, Blunham, Bedford, MK44 3NL
Phone Number 01767640346
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 120
Local Authority Central Bedfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

The school is a friendly and positive environment, where staff listen to pupils.

Pupils feel safe and enjoy coming to school. They speak positively about the staff who take care of them.

Pupils' behaviour has improved over the past year.

Staff have higher expectations of pupils' behaviour. However, this is not consistent and not all silliness is being addressed. Pupils enjoy, and are motivated by, the positive rewards and praise they receive for behaving well.

Pupils know that adults have high expectations of how well they learn. They can recall more recent learning as well as demonstrate understanding of subject specific vocabulary. Pupils enjoy challenged.

Current pupils are making more progress across the curriculum. However, in the past, pupils have not achieved as well as they should have by the end of Year 6.

Pupils are starting to attend well-thought-through trips.

These link to the curriculum and extend pupils' learning. They are proud to participate in local community events, for example, the Rose Queen Fete and the switching on of the Christmas tree lights.

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

The school has experienced changes in leadership and staffing over the past few years.

It is now in a more stable position as it has made links with another local primary school. These links have ensured that there is a clear vision for the school that everyone is working towards.

The school offers a broad curriculum.

The curriculum ensures that pupils' knowledge builds over time, starting in the early years. However, the curriculum is new. There are gaps in pupils' knowledge that need to be filled prior to learning the new curriculum.

There are also long gaps between when pupils learn some subjects. These mean that pupils struggle to remember important subject knowledge. Pupils do not achieve as well as they should in these subjects.

Teachers sometimes use questions skilfully to draw out and deepen pupils' understanding. However, there are occasions where teachers do not spot and address pupils' misconceptions, meaning that pupils' understanding is inconsistent.

Staff are working more effectively to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Identification of need is more accurate, starting in the early years, which is enabling the school to put in suitable adaptations where they are needed. Staff are communicating with parents in a more effective way so that everyone is aware of what is in place for pupils with SEND. This has not always been the case.

The adaptations and clear communications now in place are helping pupils with SEND to learn well.

Reading is prioritised throughout the school. Phonics is taught effectively.

Staff use their regular checks on pupils' phonics knowledge to spot when someone needs extra help. This enables pupils to keep up. Pupils can read fluently as books are matched accurately to their reading ability.

Pupils have access to a wide range of texts in the class and school library, which ensures they will find a text that they enjoy reading.

The school has introduced a new behaviour policy. This policy has already seen improvements with how behaviour is dealt with and managed throughout the school.

However, this is not being applied consistently. A few pupils are not able to concentrate on their learning due to others' silliness in lessons. Also, a few pupils demonstrate some lower levels of conduct, for example, not lining up as expected.

However, the school is seeing a reduction in behaviour incidents as it manages the underlying causes of misbehaviour.

Pupils learn how to stay healthy. They learn about how people are different and about healthy relationships in an age-appropriate way.

The school ensures that the books pupils read develop their understanding of different cultures. As a result, pupils are very understanding of everyone's differences. However, opportunities for pupils to explore and develop their talents and interests through clubs and activities are limited.

There have been recent changes in the governing body. Governors have the expertise and knowledge to support and challenge leaders effectively. This ensures that the school is making positive changes that are improving the quality of provision.

Staff appreciate that their well-being is considered when new initiatives are introduced.

Parents are positive and supportive of the school, especially the work that has taken place over the past year. They acknowledge the improvements in communication more recently, which they value.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, the curriculum is new and, therefore, does not build on previous knowledge. Teachers do not always address misconceptions appropriately.

Pupils are unable to build their knowledge sequentially as they have gaps and misconceptions in their learning. The school needs to ensure that all curriculum planning considers pupils' prior learning so that this can be built on. The school should ensure that the curriculum is delivered as intended.

The new behaviour policy is not being applied consistently. There are low-level behaviours that are not being addressed that impact on pupils' learning. The school should ensure that all staff and pupils are clear about the expectations for behaviour and ensure that the behaviour policy is applied consistently.

• Pupils have limited opportunities outside of the curriculum to develop their talents and interests. Therefore, pupils do not experience a broad range of activities to see what additional skills they might develop. The school should ensure that pupils can experience a range of activities so that they can develop their skills.

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