The Dolphin School

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About The Dolphin School

Name The Dolphin School
Ofsted Inspections
Head Teacher Mrs Kirsteen Craig
Address 25a Bath Buildings, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5PT
Phone Number 01179240517
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 223
Local Authority Bristol, City of
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

The Dolphin School is an inclusive place in which to learn. It puts children at the heart of the community.

Pupils describe the school as friendly and welcoming. They like how staff take the time to get to know them as individuals. This makes them feel safe to talk about their feelings or worries.

Since the previous inspection, the school has not done enough to maintain a good quality of education. Interim leaders know this. They are working on the right things to bring about improvements to the curriculum.

However, many positive changes are recent and need time to embed.

Pupils behave well. They know the importance of working hard and being kind..../>
Staff swiftly sort out minor disruptions to ensure that learning time is not lost. Behaviour at lunchtime is improving now pupils have more to do. They have great fun dressing up in clothes and playing with puppets.

Every effort is made to celebrate the wide range of languages, faiths and cultures represented in the school. Pupils regularly engage in cultural events, such as singing at the Windrush concert and taking part in the St. Paul's carnival.

These and other experiences help pupils develop a strong sense of community.

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

The trust and interim leaders know what needs to improve. They have taken decisive action to evaluate and strengthen the curriculum.

For example, they found that previously, the curriculum overloaded pupils with too much information. This meant that pupils could not remember their learning well.

The new curriculum is planned carefully.

Where subjects are more established, pupils can recall prior learning. For example, pupils use the French they know to count and write simple sentences. In geography, pupils read maps confidently to locate countries.

However, across different subjects, some staff do not implement the curriculum the way the school intends. This slows the progress some pupils make, including children in the early years.

The school prioritises children's early language and reading development right from the start.

In Reception Year, staff use stories and songs to develop children's speaking and listening skills. Nonetheless, some adults do not encourage children to practise their speaking during work and play. An effective phonics programme is in place.

Staff use assessment well to spot pupils who fall behind. Pupils enjoy reading and understand how it can improve their writing. However, pupils who struggle to read, including some in key stage 2, do not get enough practise reading books.

This makes it harder for them to build their confidence and fluency.

The school has created a strong culture of inclusion. It quickly identifies pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Carefully considered pastoral support helps pupils with challenging social and emotional needs settle successfully into school life. Staff know pupils' precise needs. However, some teachers do not adapt learning for different groups of pupils well enough.

This makes it harder for pupils to learn new information.

In the Reception class, children follow the behaviours and routines they need to help them learn, such as listening and using 'kind hands'. Staff reinforce high expectations for pupils' behaviour throughout the school.

Pupils know the importance of attending school regularly. They enjoy the weekly 'HERO' awards. This celebrates high attendance and punctuality.

When poor attendance is an issue, the school challenges and supports parents to remove any barriers. As a result, the number of pupils who are persistently absent is reducing.

Personal development is a strength.

The school broadens pupils' understanding of the world around them. For example, pupils watch theatre productions and visit places of cultural interest. The school works closely with local police to promote the importance of staying safe in the community.

Pupils have an active voice. They are given opportunities to suggest improvements to the curriculum, such as how the law protects people with different characteristics. The school's effective work supports pupils to be caring young citizens.

Most parents and carers hold positive views about the school. They like how their children learn about the diverse community they belong to. Staff enjoy working at the school.

They value the opportunity to share expertise and best practices across the trust. The school is well placed to bring about further improvements.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Pupils who struggle to read do not get enough practise reading books. This makes it difficult for them to build their confidence and fluency. The trust should ensure that these pupils get the right support to become fluent readers.

• In a few subjects, some staff do not implement the curriculum as the school intends. This slows the progress pupils make. The trust should ensure that the planned improvements to the curriculum are implemented effectively in all subjects and phases.

• Some staff do not adapt learning well enough for different groups of pupils. This makes it harder for pupils to learn new concepts. The trust needs to ensure that staff understand how to tailor learning, so that all groups of pupils build knowledge securely across all subjects.

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