Willowcroft Community School

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About Willowcroft Community School

Name Willowcroft Community School
Website http://www.willowcroft.org.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Miss Amanda Doy
Address Mereland Road, Didcot, OX11 8BA
Phone Number 01235813304
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 492
Local Authority Oxfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Willowcroft Community School continues to be a good school.

The headteacher of this school is Amanda Doy.

This school is part of the OPEN (Oxfordshire Primary Education Network) Umbrella Trust. The trust is led jointly by the four headteachers who take overall responsibility for their own school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are rightly proud of their happy and nurturing school.

They demonstrate positive attitudes towards their learning and others. Relationships between staff and pupils are warm and respectful. Staff have high expectations for all pupils to succeed academically, emotionally and socially.

Pupils rise to these and achieve w...ell.

The school's values of 'resilience, reflectiveness, resourcefulness and reciprocity' are firmly rooted in daily routines. In lessons, pupils are enthusiastic learners and contribute thoughtfully to discussions.

They enjoy taking up a wide range of leadership roles. Pupils value these responsibilities and feel that they are making an impact by helping others. For example, the eco-leaders have planted trees, the playground buddies set up activities and the reading ambassadors help younger pupils.

The school provides a wide range of opportunities for pupils to develop their interests. Pupils look forward to the gardening, sewing, dancing and sports clubs. They learn to play musical instruments and perform at local music and dance festivals.

Pupils collect funds and donations for charities they support. They are proud of their campaign to raise awareness about the impact of pollution on the environment. Pupils regularly organise litter picks to keep the area safe for local habitats.

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

The curriculum is interesting and vibrant in all subjects. The important knowledge and vocabulary pupils should learn have been carefully identified and ordered appropriately. The school identifies and supports the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities well.

These pupils access the same ambitious curriculum as their peers. This begins in early years and continues throughout the school.

Teachers set clear expectations for pupils' behaviour, and pupils demonstrate impeccable attitudes to learning.

This means that classroom areas are calm, purposeful and productive. Pupils enjoy school and attend regularly. They arrive on time and ready to learn.

This is because staff work proactively with families to break down any barriers to attendance. Parents value and appreciate the proactive support provided.

The school promotes pupils' love of reading at every opportunity.

Pupils talk enthusiastically about the diverse and interesting range of texts they read and enjoy. They cannot wait to discover new books available in classrooms and around the school. Younger children listen attentively to the rhymes and stories staff read and share.

One pupil said, 'You can never get bored about reading here.'

Staff are determined that all pupils learn to read accurately and confidently. The sounds and letters pupils need to know well are introduced right from the start of Reception class.

Staff check and make sure that the books pupils read help them practise the sounds they are taught. Many pupils learn to read quickly. At times, however, the teaching of phonics is not as precise as it could be.

This means that a small number of pupils are not learning to read as fluently as they could.

Overall, teachers have strong subject knowledge. For example, in mathematics, they check and make sure that younger children develop their understanding of number securely.

In the older year groups, teachers promptly identify and address any gaps and misconceptions that pupils might have. However, in a small number of subjects, teaching is not consistently effective. Sometimes, staff do not check pupils' understanding precisely and pupils' gaps in learning are not addressed effectively.

Pupils are not routinely supported to make links with what they have learned previously. Consequently, they do not learn as well as they could.

The school works successfully to meet the needs of all pupils, no matter what their background or barriers in life.

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are supported well in all areas of school life. The school provides many opportunities to broaden pupils' understanding of the world around them. For example, they take part in singing concerts and visit different cities such as London.

Pupils learn about other faiths and the importance of not discriminating based on beliefs or for any other reason. They also know about different kinds of relationships, as well as how to keep themselves healthy and safe. As one pupil said, 'Just because we like someone does not mean that we follow everything they say, that is not love.

We always make our own decisions.'

Staff are proud of their school. They appreciate the consideration that the school gives to their workload when changes are introduced.

This helps staff to feel valued and supported in their roles. Governors are reflective and knowledgeable. They provide effective support and challenge to the school on the quality of education that all pupils receive.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Teaching in a few subjects is inconsistent. As a result, some pupils do not learn as well as they could.

The school should equip staff with the skills to check pupils' understanding and help pupils to make links with what they have learned previously so they integrate new knowledge into larger ideas. ? Sometimes, the teaching of phonics is variable. Some staff do not identify and address gaps in pupils' phonics knowledge effectively.

This means that some of the younger pupils do not learn to read with sufficient fluency and confidence. The school should continue to ensure that all staff are well trained and teach phonics successfully.


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 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 March 2015.

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