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This is a very happy school at the heart of its community. Pupils said that their peers and adults alike are polite, kind and helpful. Pupils and staff described the school as being a family.
Leaders place a huge emphasis on developing pupils' character and social consciousness. From the start in early years, staff set high expectations for behaviour and attitudes. Leaders underpin all their work by continuously instilling and modelling a set of shared values.
Pupils are demonstrably respectful and empathetic. Their behaviour is excellent, and incidents of misbehaviour are rare.
Pupils have opportunities to take initiative in the community.
They work... with external agencies and petition local councillors. Pupils were instrumental in setting up a weekly food bank at the school for the local community. They were successful in their campaign to establish a new play area for young people in the local park.
They recently took part in the official opening with a range of local dignitaries.
Leaders strive to ensure that pupils succeed in their academic studies. They do so by keeping the curriculum under review and by driving improvements.
Leaders pay close attention to ensuring that all pupils are included and, as appropriate, given extra support to meet their needs. Thus, pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) access the same curriculum and other experiences as their classmates.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders provide pupils with a broad curriculum.
It includes many enrichment experiences to expand pupils' cultural capital. Curriculum thinking and implementation are strong overall, and especially so in English and mathematics. In the early years, there is a well-sequenced curriculum covering all the required areas of learning.
This supports children's readiness for entry into Year 1 effectively.
The teaching of reading is a high priority. Staff have the required expertise to teach the school's phonics programme well.
Staff identify children and pupils who are not keeping up. They provide them with well-targeted support. Staff use a range of strategies to encourage a love of reading.
For example, storytellers, poets and authors are regular visitors to the school. As a result of leaders' and staff's work on early reading, pupils become fluent and confident readers.
Leaders identified that pupils did not gain deep enough knowledge in subjects other than English and mathematics.
In the last year, leaders have made some significant positive changes to the curriculum in these areas, both its design and delivery. They work with their counterparts in other schools and with external advisers to help them sharpen their practice. They have, so far, made sure that what they teach in all subjects aligns to the national curriculum and is sequenced logically.
As a result, pupils achieve well. Even so, sometimes pupils do not deepen their understanding of important subject-specific concepts. For example, in geography, they are taught and revisit important concepts across several geography units.
However, they do not build up their understanding of the interaction between human and physical processes as well as they could. This means that they are not routinely meeting their full potential in knowing and understanding more in the subject.
All teaching and support staff benefit from regular training.
They gain the knowledge, skills and expertise to teach across the subjects. They make appropriate, well-tailored adaptations for pupils with SEND so that they too can access the same curriculum as their classmates. Staff create a very positive learning environment in the classrooms and outdoors.
They often check on children's and pupils' knowledge. They use the information effectively. They address misconceptions and help those who fall behind to catch up.
In the early years, children happily engage in the stimulating environment provided. They show high levels of concentration, inquisitiveness and collaboration. For example, children concentrated hard when writing about the chicks they saw hatching from the eggs.
In other year groups too, pupils are also eager to learn new things and explore. At breaktime, for instance, inspectors observed many young pupils conversing together. They were looking at snails and popping them into water created by the rain.
They spoke about how important it is to look after small creatures. Pupils work hard in class. During social times they behave with great maturity.
They know and understand that behaving well at all times is the right thing to do.
Leaders' provision for pupils' personal development is extensive. Staff take all classes on many visits each year.
Pupils visit museums, art galleries and ecology centres, for instance. Year 6 spend a five-day residential on a working farm. Pupils do projects with university students, aimed at raising their ambitions.
Pupils attend opera workshops. Staff put talented musicians forward for scholarships to train with the Royal College of Music.
Staff teach pupils about how to form healthy relationships.
They do much to encourage pupils to take care of their mental and physical health. Extensive work is done with internal therapists and external charitable organisations. This helps leaders to provide pupils with bespoke, high-quality pastoral and welfare support.
Staff said that they feel valued and that leaders are considerate of their welfare. They are not required to carry out onerous tasks. Staff morale is high.
This is reflected in the high staff retention rate.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders and staff know the pupils and their families well.
They understand the local community and the difficulties and vulnerabilities that pupils and their families may face. They are thus vigilant and report any concerns they may have about a pupil, however minor things might seem. Leaders act swiftly to help pupils and, when relevant, their families.
They ensure that the right support is put in place to safeguard pupils and address their welfare needs, using internal or external agencies. Leaders vet job applicants for their suitability to work with pupils.
Pupils are taught about risk and how to keep safe, such as when using the internet.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In some foundation subjects, pupils are not developing a deep enough understanding of specific subject-related core concepts. This means that pupils do not routinely achieve as highly as they could. Leaders should ensure that they consider carefully how they will build and deepen, step by step from early years upwards, pupils' knowledge of core subject concepts.
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