Southill Lower School

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About Southill Lower School

Name Southill Lower School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Samantha Barlow
Address School Lane, Southill, Biggleswade, SG18 9JA
Phone Number 01462813312
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 2-9
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 62
Local Authority Central Bedfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Southill Lower School continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils at Southill are safe, secure and happy. Classrooms and corridors are filled with laughter.

Relationships between pupils are strong. They get on well with each other and display courtesy, respect and kindness.

Pupils say they feel happy at school because leaders have created a culture where everyone cares for each other.

Staff know every pupil well. They know what makes them happy, anxious or worried. This means that every pupil can be supported quickly and consistently.

Pupils say that behaviour is good. Teachers have taught pupils to understand what bullyin...g is. Pupils say there is no bullying at school.

They get excited in lessons because learning is interesting. Pupils respect each other and behave in such a way that everyone can learn without being disrupted.

Pupils' learning is well supported by all staff.

Within the mixed-age classes pupils regularly receive specific age-appropriate learning in small groups. Teachers and teaching assistants all deliver a curriculum that is helping pupils to know and remember more.

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

Leaders have identified key priorities and taken action to make the school better.

The school has been through some challenging years, with high staff turnover. Leaders, including governors, have acted decisively to provide a stable staff team. They have also developed effective links with a partner school to share best practice.

Provision now meets the needs of all pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Strategies to support pupils with SEND include greater use of practical resources, visual prompts and teaching concepts before the whole-class lesson for familiarity.

The curriculum is carefully planned.

Teachers adapt their plans so younger and older pupils receive learning that is appropriate for their age. The design of the curriculum is ambitious and well sequenced. Curriculum plans support pupils to become secure with subject-specific knowledge.

Leaders make sure that teachers check what pupils know and can do. They use this information to plan and support pupils with their learning. Accurate checking of pupils' knowledge means that the curriculum can be adapted to meet the individual needs of pupils.

Some aspects of the curriculum do not provide opportunities for pupils to apply what they learn in ways which would really challenge pupils to think hard. Some pupils could achieve at an even higher level.

The reading curriculum is carefully planned, from Nursery to Year 4.

Leaders have high expectations for what letter sounds pupils should know at different points in the year. Leaders track reading progress meticulously in the early years and continue this for any pupils who may find reading more challenging. Pupils say that they enjoy reading because they have been taught how to read fluently.

Staff use skilful questioning to embed pupils' comprehension of vocabulary. This helps pupils to understand what they are reading.

Leaders have developed a positive reading culture across the school.

Staff are passionate about reading and demonstrate how to read with expression. One pupil said that reading 'takes me away in my head'. Another commented that, 'reading calms me down.'

Leaders have delivered high quality training so that all staff have the highest expectations for pupils. Staff explain what good behaviour looks like. Pupils understand how they are expected to behave and follow the school rules.

The personal, social, health and economic education curriculum explicitly teaches pupils about bullying and relationships. This supports pupils in talking confidently about different types of bullying. One pupil informed an inspector that you can have 'emotional, physical, verbal and virtual bullying, but we don't have any here'.

Pupils enjoy the range of clubs that the school offers, including hockey, dance, mindfulness, gardening, 'chill out' and history. Leaders are aware of the need to teach pupils about diversity through religious education (RE).

Leaders and staff build strong relationships with parents by getting to know families well.

Leaders and staff have helped to develop a strong sense of community with parents. Parents' responses to Ofsted's Parent View questionnaire reflect how happy parents are with the school, with 100% recommending it to other parents.

Governance of the school is a strength.

Governors bring a range of expertise to their role, including data analysis and knowledge about effective safeguarding. Governors support leaders well. Governors hold leaders to account for the school's academic and financial performance.

They have a clear understanding of the curriculum and of how well pupils are doing. They have played an important role in developing links with a partner school. This has helped with the sharing of resources and staff training.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders who are in charge of safeguarding take their roles seriously. They make sure all staff are appropriately trained and know how to act if they have a concern.

Leaders have clear systems in place to record any potential incidents. These are reviewed by relevant staff on a regular basis. Ongoing communication between staff and designated safeguarding leaders keeps pupils safe.

All staff are vigilant and understand that everyone is responsible for safeguarding, not just leaders.

The executive headteacher is supported by a named safeguarding governor, who has a thorough understanding of safeguarding procedures.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leaders provide a curriculum that supports pupils' learning.

However, this needs to be reviewed and refined so that teachers deliver subject content precisely matched to all pupils' needs, particularly those who are ready to apply knowledge in more complex ways. Teachers need to check what pupils know and do not know so that the next steps of learning can be carefully chosen.Background

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 a section 8 inspection of a good or outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that a good school could now be better than good, or that standards may be declining, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the second section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be good in March 2011.

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