St Mary’s VA CofE Lower School

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About St Mary’s VA CofE Lower School

Name St Mary’s VA CofE Lower School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Karen Bingley
Address High Street, Clophill, MK45 4BE
Phone Number 01525860206
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 2-9
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 137
Local Authority Central Bedfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy coming to school. They are enthusiastic about learning and are kind to one another. Leaders teach and model values such as respect, humility and courage.

Learning about these values enriches pupils' relationships and helps them to understand the world around them. Pupils are committed to the school values. Some become 'values ambassadors' and act as role models for others.

Pupils value all people equally, regardless of their beliefs or other characteristics.

Teachers encourage pupils to have good manners. In classes and around the school, pupils follow adults' instructions.

Lessons are calm and orderly. Relationships between pupils and a...dults are warm. Bullying is very rare.

Pupils feel safe and they say that teachers are 'fair'.

Pupils take part in regular events such as charity days. They attend clubs that provide a range of activities.

Pupils learn from, and interact with, the local community. For example, they make gifts for residents at the local residential home. Jake, the school dog, adds to school life and pupils' enjoyment.

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

Leaders, including governors, and teachers are keen for pupils to experience a rich and varied curriculum. Leaders and teachers have received training in curriculum development and implementation. They actively seek new approaches to subject teaching to enhance pupils' experiences.

Leaders work with the local middle school to support curriculum development, such as by developing the school's calculation policy so that pupils are better prepared for the next stage of learning. Leaders have made sure that much of the curriculum is more structured. It is now usually clear what specific pieces of knowledge pupils need to learn at which times.

In places, the curriculum lacks depth and focuses too much on how content is taught, rather than on what content is taught. Pupils do not learn as effectively when this is the case.

Teachers' use of ongoing assessment helps them to quickly spot pupils' misconceptions and give timely support.

This also provides useful feedback to teachers about how pupils' knowledge and understanding is developing. Teachers also assess pupils' retention of knowledge every term.

Teachers give pupils frequent opportunities to recall and use what they have recently been taught, such as by devoting the start of maths lessons to rehearsing maths facts, and through 'echo-reading' new vocabulary and phrases in reading lessons.

This helps pupils to secure new knowledge in their long-term memories.

Leaders' focus on the curriculum and high standards in reading enables pupils to achieve well. Teachers give children a head start on phonics in nursery.

Staff have been well trained to teach phonics, and the reading curriculum is well sequenced.Consistent teaching and practice of phonics in the Reception Year ensures that pupils quickly become fluent readers.

Classroom routines, warm relationships and shared expectations of behaviours mean that lessons are calm and positive.

Pupils are praised frequently. Pupils' commitment to the school values is also reflected in their conduct in and around the school, in classrooms and with each other. As a result, the exceptional attitudes help pupils to make the most of their learning.

Pupils experience a wide range of personal development opportunities, for example through taking on 'young leader' responsibilities in Year 2 and through taking part in charity work. This helps pupils to develop a sense of community responsibility.

Leaders are passionate and ambitious for the early years.

They have put in place a curriculum that gives children a broad range of understanding in readiness for key stage 1. Teachers identify and address pupils' needs early on. They monitor pupil engagement and are mindful of pupils' well-being.

The delivery of the curriculum is adapted to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Pupils are known very well, and their progress is monitored closely. Pupils are helped to overcome barriers to learning.

The school works with a range of external agencies. However, in some cases, plans for pupils with SEND do not set targets that are precise enough.

Governors know the school, the teachers, and the community well.

They are mindful of teachers' well-being. Governors are clear that education is the key to social mobility. They are well trained and fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010.

They are keen for children to experience a successful transition to middle school. Pupils have opportunities to take part in a programme of transition activities for middle school. As a result, pupils look forward to their next steps.

Governors work closely with school leaders to prioritise curriculum, well-being and the schools' values.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Safeguarding is a high priority at St Mary's.

Leaders have good knowledge of the children and their families. Staff are well trained in safeguarding and they work closely with outside agencies.

Regular well-being checks keep leaders attuned to the needs of pupils.

Leaders regularly audit their approaches to safeguarding. Systems of documenting referral and support for pupils are being transitioned to an electronic format, but still allow for documentation to be viewed and amended by leaders. Systems for recruiting and checking staff are robust.

The school's single central record is up to date.

Teachers teach children about relationships and how to stay safe online. Pupils know who they can talk to if they have concerns.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Some parts of the school's curriculum have too much of an emphasis on how pupils learn, rather than on the content that pupils will learn. As a result, not all pupils learn and remember the content that leaders intend for them to learn. Leaders should review their curriculum plans to ensure that all curriculum plans identify the detailed content pupils will learn and when they will learn it.

• Targets in personal plans for pupils with SEND are not as specific as they should be. The support pupils with SEND receive is therefore not as precise as it ought to be. Leaders should ensure that targets set in plans for pupils with SEND are more specific.

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