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The Royal First School continues to be a good school.
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils are proud to belong to The Royal First School community. They try hard to be resilient and resourceful in their learning and to show generosity of spirit so that they 'shine brightly' throughout the school day.
Pupils value the opportunities they are given to take on roles of responsibility, for example acting as anti-bullying ambassadors.
Pupils' behaviour reflects staff's high expectations. Pupils get along well with one another, playing and learning together happily.
Staff are sensitive and patient when supporting pupils who sometimes find it difficult to behave ...well.
The school is a calm, safe place to be. Pupils say that bullying and unkindness do not happen very often.
They feel confident that when it does occur, adults deal with it quickly. Pupils follow the school rules and routines sensibly.
Pupils experience a broad curriculum with a wide range of exciting experiences.
Pupils learn about the natural world and enjoy a range of outdoor activities while learning in the extensive grounds surrounding the school. They take part in community events. For example, pupils sang and danced around the maypole at an outdoor concert for the local community.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have devised an interesting curriculum that is enhanced with a wide variety of experiences and activities. In the core subjects of English, mathematics and science, leaders have carefully considered the knowledge and skills that they want pupils to learn. Leaders have planned in detail the order in which this important content will be taught.
Leaders make learning to read a priority. Teachers read a wide range of exciting books to pupils that capture their interest. Pupils enjoy reading.
Children get off to a good start learning phonics in the early years. Children are keen to learn. They listen carefully to their teachers.
Staff teach the pronunciation of sounds well. They show pupils how to blend sounds to make words and how to decode unknown words when reading. Most pupils learn to read fluently and confidently.
Staff who are new to teaching phonics are given effective guidance and support. Pupils are sometimes given books that do not match the sounds they have learned precisely enough. Leaders are in the process of addressing this.
In mathematics, pupils acquire the knowledge and skills they need to become confident mathematicians. In the early years, children learn their numbers and how to count through a range of practical activities. This prepares them well for future learning.
Teachers explain important mathematical concepts clearly. They swiftly identify gaps in pupils' understanding through the checks they make. Teachers then act quickly, planning additional support to address these gaps.
In some of the subjects other than in the core, leaders have not planned in sufficient detail the knowledge that pupils need to be taught. Pupils do not learn as well as they should in these subjects. Leaders and governors know what needs to be done to improve the curriculum.
They are in the process of addressing this and have already made a good start. In art, for example, the specific knowledge that pupils will be taught has been planned in detail. Pupils achieve well in this subject, as a result.
They practise their skills confidently, building on what they already know and can do. They work with focus, taking care with their artwork.
Pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are supported well.
Leaders know these pupils' individual needs well. Leaders carefully plan the specific support that is needed for pupils with SEND. Leaders regularly check that these plans are working and make any necessary changes to the support in place.
Pupils with SEND achieve well.
Pupils are enthusiastic about their learning. Most of the time they work hard during lessons and concentrate on their tasks.
Sometimes pupils lose interest in their learning and occasionally this can lead to low-level disruption. Leaders effectively support staff to manage any disruptive behaviour and pupils are sensitively encouraged back on task.
Through the wider curriculum, leaders plan opportunities that prepare pupils to be global citizens.
Pupils learn about what they can do to help protect the environment. They learn about the lives of people in different countries, including the experience of those who are refugees. Pupils particularly enjoyed speaking with children who are refugees via video communication.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have created a culture where pupils' welfare is paramount. Leaders make sure that all staff are trained thoroughly in safeguarding.
Staff fully understand their responsibilities and know what to do if they spot any signs that a pupil may be at risk of harm. Leaders are vigilant when responding to any concerns so that pupils get the help they need.Leaders plan a range of activities and special visitors to help pupils learn how to keep themselves safe.
Pupils know how to keep themselves safe, including when using technology and when online.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Leaders have not planned in sufficient detail the content that pupils will learn in all of the foundation subjects. While leaders have started to make improvements, for example in art, they need to make sure that this is addressed for all foundation subjects.
This is so that pupils embed key concepts and knowledge in their long-term memories in all subjects. The transition arrangements have been applied.
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 good.
This is called a section 8 inspection of a good or outstanding school, because it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection.
Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the section 8 inspection as a section 5 inspection immediately.
This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be good in October 2016.
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