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Pupils are proud to attend Sunny Bank Primary School. They feel happy and they value being part of this close-knit learning community. Pupils appreciate the support that they receive from their teachers and from their friends.
Pupils know that leaders and staff have high expectations for their behaviour and for their achievement. Typically, pupils rise to these expectations. They achieve well.
Pupils also spoke to inspectors with enthusiasm about the recognition that they receive when they try their best. For example, pupils delight in receiving certificates of recognition in assemblies. They also enjoy visits to the achievement café, where they can have a drink and a... biscuit to celebrate their hard work.
Pupils embrace the many ways that people are unique. They know that others should not be judged because of their differences. Staff teach pupils about the different forms of bullying.
If bullying or name-calling happens, leaders and staff deal with this effectively. This helps pupils to feel safe. They know who they can talk with, should they have any concerns or worries.
Pupils enjoy a variety of after-school activities, including well-being, art, computing, and learning clubs. They have opportunities to join the school choir and to become proficient at playing musical instruments. A recent careers day allowed pupils to learn about a range of professions.
This inspired them to reflect on possible vocations to follow in the future.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Following the previous inspection, leaders have placed a sharp focus on improving the design of the curriculum across the school. They have been highly successful in developing the subjects that pupils study.
Leaders are determined to continue this improvement work, so that pupils experience the very best quality of education.
The curriculum is broad, balanced and commensurate with the national curriculum. Teachers understand the subject-specific content that pupils should learn and when this should be taught.
As a result, most pupils, including children in the early years, learn and achieve well.
Typically, teachers deliver the curriculum well. They have strong subject knowledge and they select the most appropriate activities to help pupils to acquire new concepts and information.
Leaders' assessment systems, particularly in subjects such as mathematics, help teachers to identify any gaps in pupils' knowledge. In these subjects, teachers typically tailor lessons to address any deficits that pupils have in their learning. However, in a few subjects, sometimes teachers do not help pupils to understand how new content builds on what they already know and can do.
Occasionally, this hinders some pupils from learning and remembering all that they could.
Leaders and staff identify pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) quickly. Staff work closely with external professionals, and with parents and carers.
They enable pupils with SEND to access the full curriculum and to engage in all aspects of school life. As a result, pupils with SEND learn well.
Leaders have introduced a plethora of initiatives to foster pupils' love of reading.
For example, staff motivate pupils to earn tokens which they can exchange for books. Pupils enjoy reading challenges and relish completing well-designed quizzes about the books that they have read. In the Reception class, parents attend a weekly reading club, where they share stories with the children.
Leaders have introduced a phonics programme, which children follow from the beginning of the Reception class. Pupils practise their phonics skills by reading from books which match the sounds that they know. Generally, this helps pupils to develop into accurate and fluent readers in readiness for key stage 2.
However, on occasions, some staff do not deliver the phonics programme consistently well. This slows some pupils' progress in their reading.
Typically, pupils demonstrate positive behaviour.
They engage well during lessons and they conduct themselves well throughout the school. Pupils are polite towards others. School routines are taught to children from the start of the Reception class.
For example, children are highly motivated to complete learning challenges to earn a reward at the end of the week.
Pupils benefit from a well-designed personal development programme. Pupils take on leadership roles across the school, such as being members of the school council, librarians and reading buddies.
Children in the early years become class monitors. Pupils learn how to be responsible citizens. For example, they recently cleaned the playground of litter and hosted a soup kitchen for the local community.
Pupils visit residential homes and raise money for charities.
Trustees and governors work closely together and successfully hold leaders to account for the quality of education that pupils receive. Collaborative working within the trust helps leaders to utilise additional support where it is needed the most.
Trustees, governors and leaders are mindful of staff's well-being and their workload. Staff have high levels of morale and value all that leaders do to support them.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have introduced robust systems to report and monitor welfare concerns. They have trained staff in these processes, as well as ensuring that staff receive up-to-date training in safeguarding. This means that leaders and staff are able to identify any issues or problems early and act quickly to support pupils and their families.
Staff understand school policies, such as those relating to whistle-blowing.
Safeguarding is covered across the curriculum. Pupils learn how to maintain healthy lifestyles and how to stay safe in the local area.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In a few subjects, teachers do not make links to previous learning clear enough when they deliver new content. Over time, this prevents some pupils from securing important information into their long-term memory. Leaders should ensure that teachers build on pupils' prior learning to enable them to develop a rich and deep body of subject knowledge across all subjects.
• From time to time, staff do not follow the agreed approaches when delivering the phonics programme. This slows some pupils' progress in becoming accurate and fluent readers. Leaders should ensure that all staff develop the expertise required to deliver the phonics programme consistently well.
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