St Paul’s Walden Primary School

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About St Paul’s Walden Primary School

Name St Paul’s Walden Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Nancy Adshead
Address Bendish Lane, Whitwell, Hitchin, SG4 8HX
Phone Number 01438871241
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 76
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils join a school where they learn to be positive, resilient individuals.

They attend school regularly. Pupils arrive happily in the mornings and enter school chatting cheerfully. They live out the school values in the local community too.

Pupils eagerly take part in church and village events. These include a Christingle celebration and the annual 'Whitfest' music show. Feeling part of the school and local community helps pupils feel happy, safe and valued.

The nurturing environment and supportive community encourage pupils to be respectful and responsible. Pupils discuss the ways people differ kindly. This prepares them well for encountering people and pl...aces outside the surrounding villages.

Pupils take on various roles, such as school councillors and sports leaders. These responsibilities allow them to contribute positively to school life. Buddying older pupils with younger ones ensures children feel comfortable from the moment they start the Reception Year.

Pupils benefit greatly from how leaders have improved the curriculum. It shows, for example, in pupils confidently reading the books they receive or demonstrating how they calculate accurately in mathematics. Children in the Reception Year learn to 'have a go' because staff offer encouragement.

Children progress well because staff skilfully guide them to add to their words, ideas and creations.

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

Leaders, including governors, galvanised school improvement. They work effectively with the local authority to identify and resolve issues.

Leaders have put to bed shortfalls identified at the previous inspection. For example, there is a suite of effective events that support parental engagement. These include the monthly drop-in, half-termly coffee mornings and termly open class events.

These allow parents to explore their child's learning and share feedback. Furthermore, leaders cultivate a happy workforce. Staff see how teamwork is key for ensuring the smooth running of the school.

They happily lend a helping hand. They do this because they appreciate how leaders cater for their professional training and personal needs.

The school sensibly compiled its curriculum.

Leaders have adopted high-quality schemes of work and produced some of their own. Considered two-year cycles ensure pupils in the mixed-age classes learn suitable content. The clarity in the curriculum means staff understand what to teach.

It helps them to plan activities that support pupils' learning. However, leaders accept how the open-ended approach to assessment in some subjects is unhelpful. It does not neatly capture what pupils have learned to efficiently inform teaching.

Because of this, staff are not routinely aware of what content they should home in on to maximise pupils' learning.

Over the past four years, pupils' achievement in reading has improved steadily. The reading journey begins in the early years.

Staff balance teaching the sounds letters make with expanding children's vocabulary through storytelling and engaging activities. When they are ready, pupils receive books they can read with increasing fluency. As pupils age, staff continue to provide frequent opportunities for reading and discussion.

This develops pupils' ability to understand the texts they read.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) achieve soundly. Parents appreciate the care and education staff provide.

Leaders' effective networking means staff receive useful training, such as how best to assist pupils with speech, language and communication needs. Leaders recognise a need to adjust how staff arrange the additional support for pupils with SEND. Currently, some targets lack a clear measure by which to focus support and gauge progress.

This limits how well staff may efficiently review and adjust support to ensure pupils with SEND achieve their very best.

Pupils' behaviour is calm and orderly. They respond well to the system of rewards and sanctions.

Pupils proudly collect their cards for following the rules. They appreciate the individual and whole-class rewards. These include wearing non-school uniform or enjoying a film with popcorn.

Leaders worked determinedly to reset expectations about school attendance. A staggered approach to concern letters, telephone calls and in-person meetings allows the school to tackle attendance issues head on. Consequently, pupils' attendance rates are improving.

The school's personal development programme provides pupils with various positive experiences. The swimming offer, for example, exceeds the minimum requirement. It helps pupils develop an important life skill.

Also, pupils' safety is well considered. They learn how to ride a bike on the road and how best to navigate the internet. Well-planned educational visits, including to places of worship and a residential trip, broaden pupils' horizons.

Also, the school sensibly arrange for pupils to use public transport. This prepares Year 6 pupils well for when they catch the school bus to travel to secondary school in the nearby towns.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, the school's approach to assessment does not provide enough information about what pupils have learned and remembered. As a result, teachers cannot efficiently use this information to plug gaps in pupils' knowledge. The school should modify this approach, so that checks on pupils' learning are efficient and helpful to inform future teaching.

The school is in the process of finetuning the additional support for pupils with SEND. Some of this support lacks a clear measure by which to assess progress. Leaders should provide staff with the training and time to put in place precise support for pupils with SEND that aligns closely to their needs and which can be monitored efficiently and effectively to maximise pupils' achievement.

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