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About Shepherdswell Church of England Primary School
Pupils are very happy at Sibertswold. They smile when they arrive in the morning and are greeted warmly by the headteacher and other members of staff.
Pupils said the school is special to them because, 'Everybody's different, but that's okay, we don't judge anyone here'.
All pupils, whatever their needs, thrive and flourish at the school and meet leaders' and governors' high expectations. Pupils say that teachers make learning fun.
They particularly enjoy the forest school and the opportunity to read for enjoyment at the start of every day.
Pupils learn in a calm, purposeful environment without fear of bullying or discrimination. Their well-being is ...given top priority.
Pupils know that staff care about them and this makes them feel very safe. Pupils agreed with one who said, 'Teachers are very nice, they always listen to you'.
Pupils behave well.
They are polite, kind and caring. Older pupils provide good role models for younger pupils. They make good friends and there is a real sense of belonging to the school and the village community.
Parents commented on how happy and safe their children are in school. They fully support the leadership and appreciate how leaders communicate with them.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The school provides a good quality of education.
The curriculum is broad, vibrant and engaging. There is a clear overview of what pupils will learn in each subject so that teachers know exactly what to teach and when. Pupils develop a rich and varied vocabulary which helps them talk about, understand and remember their learning.
This begins as soon as children start school in Reception. Teaching helps pupils to become good learners with personal attributes, skills and attitudes to stand them in good stead for later life.
Some subjects, apart from English and mathematics, are being taught from the beginning of this year using schemes of work that are new to the school.
Curriculum leaders have good subject knowledge. However, they have not yet been able to check on how well the new schemes are working over time, or to make sure pupils are building their knowledge over time. They are developing their leadership skills to support this work in the future.
Leaders understand the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and swiftly identify those who need additional help. Pupils have appropriate guidance and resources so that they can do their best. As a result, vulnerable pupils do well because their needs are met effectively.
The teaching of phonics is well organised and begins as soon as children start in the Reception Year. Pupils are given the right books to read, which help them practise the sounds they are learning. Teachers quickly identify pupils who might start to fall behind to give them extra support, which helps them catch up.
Leaders are passionate about encouraging pupils to develop a love of reading. Time at the beginning of every day where pupils read purely for enjoyment reflects this. As a result, pupils develop as confident, fluent readers and their reading skills enable them to access the curriculum effectively.
Pupils behave very well in lessons and around the school and live up to teachers' high expectations. When, on few occasions, pupils lose their concentration in lessons, teachers ensure that this does not disrupt learning. Children in the Reception Year settle very well and quickly become familiar with the routines and expectations.
Leaders are unwavering in their determination to promote the further development of pupils' independence and resilience, and raise pupils' aspirations. There are plentiful opportunities for pupils to develop skills and talents beyond the academic curriculum. Pupils spoke with great enthusiasm about their recent trip to the Folkestone Arts Festival and how it had inspired them as artists.
Pupils have great awareness and empathy for others less fortunate than themselves. Their work to raise funds to support a class of children in Burkina Faso is very important to them. Pupils develop respect and tolerance for others with different faiths, beliefs or backgrounds.
The school values of love, justice, gratitude and determination are at the heart of all that the school does.
The skilled and dedicated staff are happy to work at the school and feel valued and well supported. They say that senior leaders are always mindful of their workload.
Parents are full of praise for the way the school provided for pupils' learning and emotional well-being during lockdowns and for pupils' transition back into school.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
There is a strong culture of safeguarding in the school.
Pupils' well-being and safety are the highest priorities for governors and staff. The headteacher knows the pupils and their families very well. Leaders make sure that all staff are well trained.
Staff know what to look out for and are vigilant in identifying any cause for concern. They know the procedures to follow to ensure that concerns are addressed quickly so that pupils get the help they need. The appropriate checks are carried out on adults who work in the school.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In some subjects, although the curriculum intent and implementation aspects are clear, the schemes of work are recently adopted. As a result, there has not been enough time to measure the impact of some new schemes of work that are currently in use. Subject leaders have worked hard and developed good subject knowledge.
However, their leadership skills need strengthening to enable them to monitor and assess their subjects effectively. This will enable them to better identify strengths and areas for further work on the curriculum. It will also enable them to ensure that pupils are learning what they should.
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