Two Waters Primary School

Name Two Waters Primary School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Address High Ridge Close, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 0AU
Phone Number 01442217893
Type Primary
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 237 (53.6% boys 46.4% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 23.4
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Percentage Free School Meals 3.6%
Percentage English is Not First Language 8.8%
Persisitent Absence 2.7%
Pupils with SEN Support 5.9%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes
Last Distance Offered Information Available No
Highlights from Latest Full Inspection (01 December 2011)
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Information about the school

This is an average-size school. The large majority of pupils are White British, with small numbers coming from a wide range of minority ethnic backgrounds. None are at an early stage of learning English as an additional language. The percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is much lower than seen nationally. The proportion with special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average. Two Waters has an ActiveMark and silver Eco-Schools awards, as well as Healthy Schools status. The school offers an extended school day through breakfast and after-school clubs.

Main findings

This is an outstanding school. It has been transformed since the last inspection. At that time, the school had been through a succession of short-term leaders and standards had drifted. Since then, attainment has steadily risen. Pupils in the Year 6 class last year were unsettled by unplanned changes of teachers shortly before the national tests. This caused a dip in results in mathematics. Standards in English and mathematics, in both Key Stages 1 and 2, have otherwise been consistently high. They are equally high for pupils in the current Year 6. As in 2010, almost all are on track to attain the nationally expected Level 4 in English and mathematics, and rather more than half are expected to attain the higher Level 5. Boys and girls achieve exceptionally well; pupils of all abilities and backgrounds make good and, sometimes, outstanding progress. This reflects the teaching in Key Stages 1 and 2, which is consistently good or better. Thanks to the high quality of care, guidance and support, pupils’ personal development is also outstanding. Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary and they are eager to learn. It is part of the philosophy of the school, and a feature of almost all lessons, that pupils are encouraged to push themselves to try more challenging tasks. Teachers routinely plan a range of activities of varying levels of challenge, but pupils rarely choose the easy option; they are keen to stretch themselves, and not just because they know that staff will steer them to another choice. Parents and carers have certainly noticed the change for the better at Two Waters. As one explained, ‘I was a disgruntled parent at the last inspection but the school is now very different.’ Parents and carers are in no doubt over where credit should be given for the school’s improvement. Another commented: ‘The headteacher has brought great stability to the school, leads from the top and is very supportive to both children and parents.’ Pupils benefit from a highly stimulating curriculum aimed at developing their independence and their thinking skills, and which offers them exceptional opportunities to excel across a wide range of subjects. Again, this is aptly summed up by a parent, who wrote, ‘This is a creative nurturing school with lots of music and outdoor learning, yet it still manages to achieve great results.’ Pupils are given good guidance through marking that generally shows them how they can improve their work, but this is better in English than in other subjects, and it is not of a consistently high standard in every class. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage quickly settle and they enjoy their time at school but, for some, the day is too structured, limiting opportunities for learning through purposeful play. The school has trialled a succession of systems for assessing children in the Nursery, and leaders acknowledge that the lack of established assessment arrangements has adversely affected their planning of activities that ensure children are always able to build on what they have learnt before. From starting points that are generally above those expected for their ages, children make satisfactory progress but relatively few attain the highest early learning levels at the end of the Reception Year. Self-evaluation is sharply accurate in this exceptionally well-run school. The many changes for the better since the last inspection in almost all aspects of provision and in pupils’ outcomes amply demonstrate this school’s outstanding capacity for sustained further improvement.