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Willow Brook Primary School Academy continues to be an outstanding school.
The head of school is Lucie Dawn. This school is part of the Griffin Schools Trust, which means other people in the trust also have responsibility for running the school.
The executive headteacher, Justin Creasey, is responsible for this school and one other. The trust is led by the chief executive officer, Anne Powell, and overseen by a board of trustees, chaired by Michael McCreedy.
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils feel fortunate to attend Willow Brook.
They are happy and kept safe here. Pupils are all expected to work hard, engage in thoughtful discussion and speak to one an...other kindly. They rise to these high expectations.
Pupils' behaviour is excellent. On the rare occasion there might be disputes, pupils feel listened to and well supported by staff to deal with them. Pupils develop as confident, reflective communicators, and lessons are abuzz with purposeful learning conversations.
Pupils learn an ambitious and rich curriculum that prepares them very well for the next stage of their education. Pupils here thoroughly enjoy reading, both collectively during class story time or privately in the many beautiful reading spaces established around the school. They enjoy a truly inspirational environment that has been carefully constructed to inspire learning and enrich pupils' experiences and aspirations.
Pupils value the vast range of opportunities that are open to them. They benefit from being able to participate in numerous sporting and cultural events with other schools in the trust. They especially enjoy hosting the trust's 'Arts Festival'.
They are rightly proud that their school is extremely 'creative' and that it achieves well in English and mathematics.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The school has designed and implemented a rich, broad and ambitious curriculum, which extends beyond what is expected nationally. This is made accessible to all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
Trust and school leaders have ensured that all areas of the curriculum inspire pupils and reflect the diverse school community.
The curriculum in all subjects, and in the early years, has been carefully constructed and sequenced. This means pupils learn and embed the necessary component knowledge, vocabulary and skills they need to be ready for the next stage in their learning.
For example, in music, younger pupils learn about pitch as 'high' and 'low'. This prepares them for when learning about opera to use the terms soprano, alto, tenor and bass when describing the different voice types they hear. Likewise, in geography, children in Reception learn how to distinguish the sea from the land using globes.
This foundation knowledge prepares them well when they learn about continents and oceans in later years.
Teachers are very knowledgeable and confident in delivering the curriculum. They introduce and explain new knowledge with precision and accuracy.
They regularly recap, assess and address any misconceptions that arise. This helps pupils to develop confidence in tackling more complex ideas or to correct any mistakes they might make.
Pupils with SEND are swiftly identified.
Wherever possible, pupils are well supported to access the same curriculum as their peers. This is because staff make suitable adaptations that are well matched to pupils' needs. Consequently, pupils with SEND achieve very well.
Early reading has long been a key focus of the school. The agreed phonics programme is delivered with fidelity by highly trained, experienced and expert staff. Regular assessment is used to check pupils' progress.
Should pupils fall behind, they are quickly given additional support to catch up. The sharp focus on communication and language in the Nursery means children are well prepared to learn phonics when they start their Reception Year.
Disruption to lessons and learning is extremely rare.
This is because pupils are highly engaged in their learning and behave well. They are supported to self-regulate, be kind and listen to one another. Pupils enjoy school and attend regularly.
Pupils' personal development is exceptional. Pupils are encouraged to access a broad range of additional activities, including chess, computing and cookery. There are numerous sports and musical activities made available and accessible to all.
All year groups visit the local library each term. Pupils enjoy going to museums, galleries and historically and geographically significant places. Activities are strategically planned to supplement and expand on what is being learned in school or to enrich pupils' cultural capital.
There is a strong focus on caring for nature and the community, as well as learning about different cultures and faiths.
Staff, pupils, parents and carers are extremely positive about Willow Brook Primary. The trust, the local governing body and school leaders have worked closely with parents, who recognise that communication is a particular strength.
Staff report that their workload and opportunities to develop professionally are well considered.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
When we have judged a school to be outstanding, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding.
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 first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding in June 2017.
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