The Mary Bassett Lower School

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About The Mary Bassett Lower School

Name The Mary Bassett Lower School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Ms Hilary Wheeldon
Address Bassett Road, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1AR
Phone Number 01525373017
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 2-9
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 363
Local Authority Central Bedfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


There has been no change to this school's overall judgement of good as a result of this ungraded (section 8) inspection.

However, the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a graded (section 5) inspection were carried out now. Inspectors are recommending the next inspection to be a graded inspection.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils like attending The Mary Bassett Lower School.

They feel safe and know they are well cared for. Pupils welcome the new approaches to reading and mathematics. They enjoy learning about their new topics.

Pupils are keen to do well. However, pupils still need more help from their teachers make the best progress they can. They appreciate the rewards they can receive for their effort, attendance and conduct.

Pupils are proud to receive the 'golden tickets' and 'rainbow badges'.

Pupils work well together, including in early years, and value their friendships. Overall, pupils learn in calm and orderly classrooms.

If a pupil does not follow the 'Mary Bassett Way', pupils know teachers will deal with this. Pupils say that bullying is rare and are confident in leaders resolving this quickly should it occur. They like breaktimes and playing on the much loved 'pirate ship'.

Some pupils would like more games and equipment to play with when outside.

Pupils participate in a range of school clubs. They also get to experience visits, trips and residentials.

They have enjoyed seeing a travelling theatre company, making habitats for wildlife in the school gardens and donating decorations for the local Christmas festival.

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

Leaders have an accurate understanding of the needs of all pupils. They have acted effectively on this to recently revise the whole curriculum.

Leaders have created a curriculum that is ambitious and ensures pupils gain detailed knowledge in a logical order so they can achieve well. Leaders have provided extensive training for staff on curriculum content and delivery. As a result, teachers have good subject knowledge and access to appropriate teaching materials.

Some parts of the curriculum are in the early stages of implementation, and teachers are still getting to grips with this. Some pupils are not recalling all the knowledge leaders want them to know. This is because teachers are not yet matching activities well enough to the detailed knowledge pupils need to learn.

Teachers are following the new curriculum; however, they are not always tailoring the work set to meet specific gaps in pupils' knowledge or giving enough time to fully check and address misconceptions pupils may have before moving on.

Reading is a priority in this school. Leaders have put in place a systematic phonics programme and ensure all pupils read and rehearse their phonics daily.

Leaders use assessment well to ensure pupils make good progress in knowing sounds and reading fluently. Pupils who find reading tricky are given additional daily support to catch up. However, some of these pupils do not always have books well matched to their phonics ability, and staff do not check this often enough.

This limits the progress these pupils make.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported. Adults working with these pupils adapt tasks and activities so that pupils with SEND can access the full curriculum in class with their peers.

As a result, pupils with SEND meet their specific learning targets.

Children in Nursery and Reception get off to a good start at this school. Children access a range of learning experiences to help them be curious and active learners.

They can apply their knowledge of letters, sounds, numbers and shape throughout the learning environment, and adults support them in their play to deepen their understanding. As a result, children are well prepared for Year 1.

Teachers have clear expectations of behaviour and apply the behaviour policy consistently and fairly.

Pupils who have more challenging behaviours are managed well and with respect. Pupils engage in lessons, and little learning time is wasted.

Pupils are provided with high levels of pastoral care.

They are regularly reminded who their trusted adults are. Leaders and teachers remind pupils of the 'Mary Bassett Way', which is to give something back to the community and be responsible citizens. Pupils enjoy the opportunity to be on the school council.

Staff feel that leaders, including governors, are mindful of their workload and well-being. Teachers have responded positively to the range of updates to the curriculum. They understand the reasons for these changes and can see the benefits.

Most feel the new approaches are manageable and that leaders would listen to them if they needed support.

Governors have received effective training from the local authority and are well equipped at holding leaders to account. They fulfil their statutory duties well.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Pupils feel safe. Teachers ensure that pupils are reminded which trusted adults can help them if they have a concern.

Pastoral support staff at the quiet lunchtime club give pupils additional opportunities to talk to adults about any worries. Leaders are proactive in making appropriate referrals to get pupils and families the help they need.

Pupils are also taught about how to stay safe online, and they learn about healthy relationships.

All checks on adults who work in school are thorough and monitored by leaders and governors. Staff have regular safeguarding training, and the system for identifying, reporting and referring concerns is robust.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In reading, some pupils who receive additional support are not catching up quickly enough.

This is because their books are not always matched to their phonics ability. Teachers need to increase how frequently they check that pupils can rehearse their reading with books accurately matched to the sounds they are currently working on in class. ? In some subjects, the work set is not always matched precisely enough to the aims and ambitions of the curriculum.

This means that some pupils are not making the progress they are capable of, as they do not develop the detailed knowledge leaders intend. Teachers need to ensure that they check that the activities they choose sufficiently link to and support the acquisition of the precise knowledge pupils need to know. ? In a range of subjects, teachers do not yet adapt activities or schemes well enough to address specific knowledge gaps pupils may have or check that pupils are secure in their knowledge before moving on.

As a result, pupils are not always able to articulate or remember what they have learned. Teachers need to ensure that they regularly check individual pupil's understanding to identify and address misconceptions quickly and then adapt and tailor the learning to fill the specific gaps pupils may have.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains.

This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually, this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the second ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in May 2013.

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