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Pupils thrive at Shinewater. Senior leaders have transformed behaviour and the curriculum. The school's recently refreshed values of aspiration, positivity, resilience, kindness, respect and teamwork underpin pupils' everyday experiences.
Pupils' personal development is at the heart of their learning, so they develop consideration, tolerance and genuine respect for each other and the wider community. Parents enthuse about the school. As one said, 'The school has made so many improvements over the last few years; it's a fantastic place where children are taught to shine.'
Staff quickly get to know each pupil as an individual, fostering warm relationships so ...they feel safe and secure. Pupils behave well here, and any unkindness or inappropriate behaviour is rare. Pupils value the school's 'Rainbow Rules' and know what is expected of them.
They value how trusted adults will listen to and resolve any worries they may have.
Pupils develop a love of reading. They enjoy their learning and discussing their work.
They are supported to develop language skills and a sense of curiosity. Learning is enriched through outdoor learning opportunities, specialist teachers, guest speakers and a wide range of clubs, activities and trips. Skilled teachers and teaching assistants share their infectious enthusiasm and help pupils to really enjoy school.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The headteacher and her leadership team are inspirational. Together with leaders from the Swale Academies Trust, they have brought about significant improvements across the school. Senior leaders ensure that research underpins their curriculum design and teaching approaches, and they have provided high-quality training for staff.
Together they have developed a tight-knit, well-trained staff who share a passion to achieve the very best for each and every pupil.
Staff ensure that all pupils, including disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, develop the knowledge and skills required to thrive. Leaders have implemented bespoke refinements to the curriculum across the school while also expanding provision and reinvigorating the learning environment in early years.
This is impressive, particularly as much of this work has been achieved while providing education during the pandemic.
Leaders' ambitious and well-structured plans for English and mathematics make it clear what pupils have to learn and in what order. Staff use these, together with their strong subject knowledge, to ensure that learning builds on what pupils already know and can do.
Teachers typically use assessment well to craft engaging and thought-provoking lessons that are well-suited to pupils' starting points. Consequently, over time all pupils are supported to achieve well in English and mathematics.Shinewater's provision across other subjects is very strong and particularly impressive in some aspects, such as computing.
Typically, teachers work in teams to share subject knowledge and design carefully mapped sequences of learning through the years. In some subjects, staff are at an earlier stage of implementing their plans. Leaders are aware that, in these subjects, teachers need to check pupils' knowledge more accurately before moving on to deliver new content.
Leaders have training and plans in place to achieve this.
Caring relationships fostered in the nursery promote children's speaking and listening skills well, enhancing their vocabulary and boosting their confidence. Then, from Reception onwards, staff prioritise teaching early reading skills.
Leaders have recently adopted a new approach to teaching phonics. Typically, staff interact well with pupils to develop, assess and enhance their reading skills. Appropriate support is given to any pupils who need it so that all make strong progress.
High-quality resources, coupled with engaging story times, promote a love of reading, and pupils enthuse about different authors. Over time, pupils grow into fluent readers, discovering genuine pleasure from reading books.
The school's personal development curriculum is first class.
As a result, pupils develop self-confidence and a deep understanding of the values of equality, tolerance and respect. Pupils' physical and emotional health is promoted very well. The huge range of clubs, activities and the scholarship programme on offer helps pupils develop talents beyond the curriculum.
Pupils relish the many opportunities they have to take on responsibility by taking on roles such as digital leaders, wildlife warriors or joining the school council. Leaders network with local secondary schools and universities to provide opportunities to promote pupils' aspirations. Primary careers education is woven into the curriculum.
Pupils' behave well. They play happily with their peers at breaktimes and are considerate of others. Pupils value the school's rewards and routines and so any disruption during lessons is rare.
Leaders are working hard with families to ensure that the improvement seen in attendance pre-pandemic is restored. Shinewater Primary endows pupils with resilience, communication skills and confidence. They are well prepared for their next stages of education.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have created an especially caring community where pupils' safety, welfare and well-being are their number one priority. Pupils feel safe and happy here and parents confirm this.
The curriculum promotes learning how to keep yourself safe, including when online.
Safeguarding leaders have up-to-date expertise in all aspects of safeguarding. Suitable checks are made on all adults who work with the children in school.
Leaders maintain careful records and oversee an effective package of staff training. Staff act swiftly should any pupils require extra help, sourcing appropriate support from external agencies should it be necessary.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• There have been some significant enhancements to the curriculum design and provision across the foundation subjects, but some of these plans are relatively new.
In some subjects, teachers' checking of what pupils know and can do still requires refinement. Consequently, some pupils struggle to recall prior learning or have gaps in their knowledge. More accurate checks are needed by staff to inform future learning activities and so better meet the needs of pupils in science and some foundation subjects.
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