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This is an outstanding school. The inspirational leadership of the headteacher, deputy headteacher and middle leaders can be seen at every level.
As a result, the quality of teaching and learning has improved markedly and provision for care, guidance and support is exemplary. Members of the governing body meet their statutory responsibilities well and are fully supportive of the school's aims and provide excellent challenge. These improvements have had an impact on raising pupils' attainment.
Pupils' achievement and all aspects of their personal development and well-being are outstanding. Partnerships with the local community are strong, particularly with the local church. Safeguarding proced...ures are exemplary.
The school instils in its pupils a clear sense of Christian values, self-confidence and a joy of learning. As a group of pupils said, 'We feel safe and enjoy school so much, because the teachers care for us so well.' The school's motto - 'God is at the heart of our caring community' - is seen in all of its work.
By the end of Year 6, pupils achieve extremely well because staff have very high expectations of them, and as a result, pupils' behaviour is exemplary. For example, the school has been very successful in supporting pupils with previously challenging behaviour. The school uses monitoring information very effectively to eradicate any differences in the achievement of groups of pupils.
Staff are highly effective in their use of data which are used regularly and with increased accuracy to identify what the school does well and to plan for improvement. Senior and middle leaders have been successful in improving pupils' academic performance and ensuring effective practice in sustaining their outstanding personal development. Pupils have developed a mature understanding of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.
The partnership with parents and carers, and other agencies, is strong and underpins and supports highly successful levels of care, guidance and support. As one parent commented, 'She can learn well here, because she is so happy.' Excellent leadership at all levels is at the heart of the school's success.
Systems to monitor the effectiveness of the school's work have proved to be very successful in sustaining pupils' high levels of achievement. Through honest and accurate self-evaluation, underpinning professional development, teachers have developed their skills so that teaching and learning are outstanding and pupils of all abilities are afforded opportunities to excel. Pupils work with passion and concentration, and respond enthusiastically to questions which encourage stronger learning.
Teachers use assessment well to identify specific targets to help pupils improve. However, occasionally teachers do not provide sufficient challenge and opportunities for more-able pupils to work independently, at a faster pace, in order to achieve the higher levels in National Curriculum tests. Since the last inspection, the school has broadened the curriculum, improved attendance to well above national levels, accelerated progress and raised attainment.
These actions demonstrate that the school has excellent capacity for sustained improvement and to fulfil its ambitious vision for the future.
Information about the school
St Stephen's is an average-sized primary school. The largest groups of pupils are of White British, Black Caribbean and Black African heritages.
The proportion of pupils who are from minority ethnic heritages is almost three times that found nationally. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is almost twice the national average. Over one third of the pupils, an above average proportion, speak English as an additional language.
The proportion of pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average, the largest group being those with moderate learning difficulties. The school has gained the Healthy Schools award and Artsmark. The school has a nursery where all of the children attend full time.
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