Shefford Lower School

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About Shefford Lower School

Name Shefford Lower School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Polly Ross
Address School Lane, Shefford, SG17 5XA
Phone Number 01462629123
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 3-9
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 516
Local Authority Central Bedfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Shefford Lower School continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy coming to school to learn and play. The strong focus on values underpins all areas of school life. Pupils are eager to show these values, such as cooperation and sharing, whenever they can.

The FLOURISH approach (friendly, learning, open, understanding, relational, independent, safe and happy) encourages everyone to look after one another. This helps pupils to feel happy and safe. They know that there are adults who will help them if they have any worries.

Pupils enjoy their learning because teachers are knowledgeable and make lessons interesting. Pupils behave well in ...lessons and around the school. They understand and respond well to adults' high expectations.

Pupils enjoy various enrichment experiences, through, for example, the museum, art gallery and immersive room. There are many clubs available, including for sports, music and the arts. Pupils contribute well to school life.

They participate as school parliament members, play leaders, museum curators and reading buddies. These experiences help to prepare pupils for the next stage of their education.

Parents and carers are supportive of the school.

One who summed up the views of many commented, 'a wonderful school where both my children have thrived'.

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

Leaders have developed a high-quality curriculum. It is well sequenced, so that pupils learn more over time.

Opportunities for pupils to make connections between topics and across different subjects help them to remember their learning. Pupils learn the important vocabulary linked to each subject. They use this when they talk about their learning.

In early years, there is a strong focus on communication, language and number. This ensures that children are well prepared for the next stage. Leaders regularly review the curriculum to ensure that it supports learning as well as possible.

They are currently developing the curriculum as the school grows in order to meet the needs of pupils in Years 5 and 6.

Subject leaders carefully check how well the curriculum is being delivered. They provide effective support and training for teachers.

Teachers present the planned curriculum well. They check regularly whether pupils understand their learning. Leaders know that the use of assessment is less well developed in a few subjects.

This means that teachers do not always identify precisely what pupils need to do to improve in these subjects.

Leaders have ensured that reading is at the heart of the curriculum. Children in Nursery get off to a good start by learning sounds, songs and rhymes.

In Reception, children learn sounds and read words with increasing accuracy. The books they read help them practise the sounds they are learning. As a result, most pupils are fluent readers by the end of Year 1.

Teachers make regular checks on how well pupils are progressing with their reading. Any who are falling behind receive effective support to help them keep up.

Older pupils learn more complex reading skills as they progress through school.

They enjoy the texts they read in class. All classrooms have inviting reading areas that encourage pupils to read. There is also a well-stocked library.

Pupils enjoy reading to the school dog and helping younger pupils to read. Such activities help develop their reading confidence and fluency.

Pupils behave well.

There are positive and warm relationships between pupils and adults. From Nursery upwards, children understand routines and adults' expectations. As a result, learning is rarely disrupted.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) have their needs identified at the first sign of difficulties. This helps to ensure that the right support is in place for these pupils. Individual plans identify precise targets for each pupil.

These are reviewed and adapted regularly. This helps to ensure that pupils with SEND can access the same curriculum as their peers. They make good progress from their starting points.

Many wider opportunities support pupils' development to become tolerant and active citizens. Pupils experience the democratic process through elections for the school parliament and voting for different pieces of music in assembly. Pupils learn how to stay safe and to look after their well-being.

A wide range of clubs is on offer before, during and after school. Pupils enjoy visitors to school, for example authors. Pupils benefit from trips, such as to museums.

These broaden pupils' experience. Forest school activities help to develop pupils' confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

Staff feel valued and well supported.

They know that leaders care about their well-being.

Governors are knowledgeable. They provide effective support and challenge to leaders.

They ensure that they carry out all appropriate checks on teaching, learning and safeguarding in the school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

There is a strong safeguarding culture across the school.

Leaders ensure that all staff have regular and appropriate safeguarding training. The staff know how and when to record concerns. They all know the pupils very well.

This helps them to be aware of any changes that may indicate that a pupil may be at risk of harm.

Leaders follow up on any concerns quickly to ensure that families receive the right help in a timely manner. They ensure that all relevant pre-employment checks are made on new staff.

Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe, including when online.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a few subjects, staff do not always give pupils precise information on how to improve their work. This means that pupils' learning is not always so well supported in these subjects.

Leaders should implement their plans to strengthen the use of assessment and feedback in these subjects. The school is growing to provide for pupils from Nursery up to Year 6. Leaders have appropriate plans to prepare everyone for these changes.

They should continue with their planned work for this development. This includes extending and refining the existing curriculum, so that it continues to build on pupils' learning from the end of Year 4 through to the end of Year 6.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in November 2017.

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