John Donne Primary School

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About John Donne Primary School

Name John Donne Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Miss Jo Rooney
Address Woods Road, London, SE15 2SW
Phone Number 02076390594
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 406
Local Authority Southwark
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are motivated and enthusiastic about their learning at this school.

From the early years onwards, classrooms are settled, purposeful places where pupils listen attentively, work well together and try hard at their learning. Adults develop warm and respectful professional relationships with pupils, which encourages them to report any concerns. Roles such as digital leaders and membership of the school council provide opportunities for pupils to take up responsibility.

Leaders are ambitious for what pupils will achieve through the curriculum, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They expect all pupils to learn the full curric...ulum, which is broad and interesting. For example, pupils perform their own poetry, learn outdoors in the school's open-air kitchen and are taught Spanish cultural heritage when studying the language.

Beyond the academic curriculum, leaders ensure that a wide range of 'memorable experiences' develop pupils' knowledge and experience of the world. Residential stays in Years 5 and 6 are a particular highlight, giving pupils new encounters that build on previous learning. For example, pupils gain experience of bee-keeping during a farm stay in Year 5, which further develops their understanding about pollination gained during a Year 4 outing to Kew Gardens.

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

Leaders ensure that the curriculum is carefully sequenced to develop pupils' knowledge in a logical order over time. The curriculum for younger pupils focuses on rehearsing key knowledge to help pupils to remember it. For example, in the early years, children rehearse number facts so that they do not make mistakes when attempting more complicated tasks later.

Older pupils are typically supported to recall what they have learned previously. However, in a few areas of the curriculum where curriculum thinking is newer, teaching focuses less rigorously on helping pupils to build and recall knowledge, including important concepts, fluently and accurately.

Leaders emphasise developing pupils' vocabulary because they have identified this to be an area where pupils typically have low starting points.

Teachers focus on giving clear definitions and helping pupils to pronounce and use new words accurately. Consequently, pupils acquire a range of new language that supports them to talk in detail about their learning. For instance, in art, pupils in Year 5 discuss the use of stippling, smudging and cross-hatching to create particular effects in their own work.

Leaders have wasted no time in training staff in the school's new phonics scheme. They check how well pupils are learning the curriculum and deliver extra help to those who need it. As a result, staff have strong expertise in phonics, which they use to identify precise next steps for pupils' learning.

Pupils read books that help them to practise the sounds they are learning. They read with fluency and confidence, and enjoy a carefully selected range of literature. Captivating story times help to nurture pupils' love of reading from the early years.

Pupils talk with enthusiasm about their favourite stories.

Training, and close work between leaders and teachers, supports the delivery of the curriculum. Staff report that this has a positive impact on their practice and workload.

Teachers present subject content clearly in class, taking care not to overload pupils and enabling them to focus on the most important content during activities.

Teachers check pupils' understanding, correcting errors and misconceptions. Assessment information is typically used well by leaders to make improvements to the curriculum.

However, in some areas of the curriculum, approaches to assessment are more recently introduced. Where this is the case, leaders are less clear about how well pupils have learned the curriculum and how to deepen pupils' knowledge further than they are doing routinely.

Leaders know the needs of pupils with SEND and have high ambition for them.

Individual support for pupils with SEND is well devised. Pupils with SEND benefit from adaptations to teaching and resources that support them to learn well alongside their peers.

From the early years upwards, the school has strong routines that support pupils to behave well.

Children learn to get along well, take turns and treat one another kindly. Leaders expect regular attendance from all pupils, taking effective steps to understand the reasons for less-than-regular attendance, and put in place support where necessary.

In personal, social, health and economic education lessons, pupils are introduced to a range of important information, including making healthy food and lifestyle choices, staying safe, including online, and understanding friendships and relationships.

Through the curriculum, pupils are taught about different faiths, cultures and backgrounds, and about the importance of treating others with respect.

Leaders, including the governing body and board of trustees, have clearly structured roles that they use effectively to help the school improve its work further.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Assessment systems are new and, in some places, still developing. As a result, the school has a less clear picture of how well pupils have learned the curriculum in some subjects. The school should ensure that checks on pupils' learning are used systematically to identify any areas of the curriculum where pupils' knowledge is less secure.

• In a few subjects, teaching is not routinely focused on helping pupils to recall the most important knowledge accurately and to connect it with what they already know. As a result, pupils' recall of knowledge sometimes lacks fluency, and content can become confused. The school should ensure that teaching focuses on helping pupils to understand and recall what they need to know in all subjects.

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