Millbrook Combined School

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About Millbrook Combined School

Name Millbrook Combined School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Ms Jo Garlick
Address Mill End Road, High Wycombe, HP12 4BA
Phone Number 01494524791
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 685
Local Authority Buckinghamshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils at Millbrook are proud to attend this caring, inclusive school. They feel safe, and have secure, positive relationships with each other and staff.

Pupils really enjoy learning new things alongside their friends. They are cared for by a dedicated team of staff, who know them well and treat them fairly.

Leaders have high expectations that pupils will be respectful and kind to each other.

Pupils learn to accept each other's differences. This is demonstrated in pupils' behaviour when they work together in lessons and play cooperatively at breaktime. If pupils find school life challenging, there are trusted adults available, who provide the right help.
Bullying is taken seriously and not tolerated. Although uncommon, staff manage incidents effectively.

Leaders also have ambitions for all pupils to succeed academically.

However, this is inconsistent because pupils have gaps in their knowledge and are not fully prepared for the next stages of learning.

Parents are happy to send their children to this school. They comment on how well leaders and staff work to support each other and their children.

Indeed, the staff value the 'family feel' of the school, as do the vast majority of parents.

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

Following a period of relatively high staff turnover and changes to the governing body, leaders have worked effectively to stabilise the school. They have used additional support well, for example with planning and developing the early years curriculum.

Leaders have also made other important improvements, especially to the effectiveness of how well pupils learn to read.

Leaders have rightly prioritised developing the curriculum in English and mathematics from the early years onwards. They have recently strengthened how writing is taught, which is delivered consistently well by teachers.

Some of these improvements are relatively recent, which means that the full impact of these changes on pupils' achievement are yet to be seen.

In a number of other subjects, however, the curriculum is not effective enough. Consequently, pupils do not learn as well as they should.

For example, pupils remember the engaging experiments in science or the creativity in art and design, but have not learned securely the important knowledge that teachers and leaders meant them to. Teachers do not check what pupils know or do not know effectively enough before moving on to new learning, which affects pupils' progress through the curriculum in these subjects.

The school has a truly inclusive ethos, warmly embracing any new arrivals, including asylum seekers or refugees.

Leaders ensure every pupil is made to feel they belong to their community, no matter how long they stay. Leaders are skilled in identifying when a pupil might have special educational needs and/or disabilities. Leaders support staff well in understanding and meeting the wide range of pupils' specific needs so they learn alongside their peers.

The phonics scheme that leaders introduced at the beginning of the summer term, last academic year, is taught well. Leaders' effective training, and ongoing coaching for staff, ensures rigour from early years into key stage 1. As a result, pupils feel a sense of accomplishment as they read with greater fluency and confidence.

Pupils have plenty of opportunities to practise their knowledge and skills using books that carefully match the sounds they are learning. Teachers support older pupils to deepen their understanding of the books they enjoy reading, and to broaden their vocabulary.

Leaders' effective work to support pupils who do not attend school regularly enough means that attendance rates are slowly rising.

However, arrangements to help pupils catch up with any learning they have missed, for example in English and in mathematics, are at an early stage. Consequently, these pupils are not achieving as well as they should.

Pupils behave well and show positive attitudes.

Children in the early years quickly grasp the routines and how to learn cooperatively with others. Pupils play happily with their peers at breaktimes and are caring towards others. Leaders have ensured that there is a respectful and optimistic ethos to help pupils focus on their learning.

Pupils have a keen sense of tolerance and fairness, understanding why this is important in society. The well-considered curriculum supports pupils to discuss and learn about different religions, cultures and family circumstances. Pupils develop a genuine respect and empathy for others.

Pastoral support is a strength of the school as it helps pupils understand and manage their feelings better.

Leaders are considerate of staff's workload and well-being, without compromising their determination to make further improvements to the school. Governors support and challenge leaders in equal measure.

Although many governors are new to their roles, they are reflective and knowledgeable, helping leaders to achieve ambitious goals. Leaders recognise there is still work to be done to strengthen the quality of education, and have the right actions in place to achieve this.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The culture of safeguarding is strong. Staff are well trained to recognise potential signs of harm in children. They report any concerns promptly, and leaders ensure they are followed up.

Leaders get to know pupils and their families well. They understand the community and whether there are local risks. The school works effectively with other professionals to reduce harm to children and get them the help they need.

Information about child protection is overseen thoroughly to ensure no concerns are missed. Checks on adults appointed are carried out carefully and safeguarding work is monitored by governors.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The curriculum is not delivered as leaders intend and is not yet fully effective.

For example, teaching is not sufficiently well designed to help pupils remember essential knowledge long term, and understanding is not always checked well enough. As a result, too many pupils are not learning as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that all teachers receive the support to ensure pupils know more and remember more across the whole school curriculum.

• Arrangements to help pupils who have been absent to catch up on missed learning are not effective. Pupils, therefore, do not benefit as they should from their education and are not catching up quickly enough. Leaders need to make sure that additional support is well planned, closely connected to the curriculum and taught effectively.

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