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|Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain, London Welsh School
|Ms Julie Watkins
|Hanwell Community Centre, Westcott Crescent, London, W7 1PD
|Other independent school
|Number of Pupils
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils, their parents and carers, as well as staff, described this school as one extended family. Every year, all pupils, parents and staff enjoy a residential visit together in Wales. Pupils are very happy at this school, and staff keep them safe.Staff have high expectations for all pupils. They want them to work hard and behave well so that they can flourish socially and in their learning. Pupils study a broad range of subjects and gain proficiency in both English and Welsh.
Pupils and adults enjoy positive and respectful working relationships. Pupils behave well and are kind. When they have an occasional tiff, and should any bullying occur, staff react quickly. They help the two parties to reconcile their differences and rebuild constructive relationships.
Staff pay close attention to developing pupils’ character, and they encourage pupils to be ethical and informed. For example, pupils were taught about the impact of plastic pollution in the seas. Their understanding was reinforced by a visit to a City of London water day. This included a presentation by an environmentalist. Pupils thought about and discussed how they could take responsibility to recycle and reduce their use of plastic.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders make sure that pupils experience an ambitious, broad curriculum. It covers all the requirements of the independent school standards. In designing the curriculum, leaders draw from elements of the English national curriculum and early years foundation stage framework. They also deliver many parts of the new Welsh curriculum.
Leaders prioritise teaching pupils to read in both Welsh and English. Trained staff deliver well-sequenced phonics programmes. In both languages, the books that pupils use for practising their reading are matched to the sounds that they have learned. Staff assess pupils’ progress and give extra help to those who need to catch up. As a result, pupils learn to read with equal confidence and fluency in both English and Welsh.
In most subjects, teachers deliver a well-sequenced curriculum. It logically builds pupils’ knowledge step by step and enables them to achieve well, from early years through to Year 6. Teachers create a positive learning environment. They use well-chosen resources to support their teaching. They check pupils’ understanding often. They use the information gleaned to identify gaps and misconceptions. Teachers address these. They also give bespoke feedback to help pupils learn from their mistakes.
Staff are at the early stages of thinking and planning how to ensure pupils meet some of the end goals of the new Welsh curriculum, especially in subjects other than English, Welsh and mathematics. This means that in a few cases, pupils are not routinely acquiring enough deep subject-specific knowledge. This is because leaders have not considered exactly what key knowledge they want pupils to know and remember in those subjects.
Leaders are committed to inclusion. The support that staff give pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is strong. Leaders work with staff, parents and therapists to set targets and plan support for these pupils. As a result, pupils with SEND receive bespoke help and can access the same curriculum as their peers. They are also included in all other aspects of school life.
Pupils are curious, keen to learn and want to succeed. These positive attitudes contribute well to supporting them to attain new knowledge. Occasionally, some pupils get a bit exuberant in class. Teachers are effective at dealing with this so that lessons can continue without further interruption.
Leaders and staff provide pupils with many enrichment opportunities. Every year, pupils visit the Houses of Parliament and meet the Speaker of the House of Commons. This visit aims to support pupils’ understanding of democracy. All pupils attend an after-school club. They are helped to plan their entries for the Welsh Urdd Eisteddfod competitions. According to their interests and talents, they can choose from a broad range of activities to specialise in. For example, these include singing solos, writing stories, theatrical presentations and pottery. Visitors such as chefs, authors, book illustrators and an arctic explorer all aim to broaden pupils’ experiences. Through the curriculum, pupils are taught about how to establish healthy and positive relationships. The requirements for relationships and sex education are followed.
Staff said that their workload is manageable. They value the openness and approachability of leaders and the way they care for staff well-being.
The proprietor body is aware of its statutory duties. However, its focus recently has been on securing the future viability of the school. As a result, compliance with a few minor aspects of some independent school standards slipped, with a few requirements unmet at the start of the inspection. These were quickly addressed by leaders during the inspection. Leaders have now commissioned an external agency to carry out an annual audit to strengthen their oversight of compliance with the independent school standards. Leaders ensure that the statutory requirements of the early years foundation stage are met.
The accessibility plan complies with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
In this very small school, staff know all the pupils and their families well. If they notice any worrying signs, they report these to leaders. Leaders know who to contact to get help for pupils or parents who need support with safety or welfare. Leaders have suitable arrangements in place to vet applicants to check that they are suitable to work with pupils.
Pupils are taught about risk, such as when using social media. They have trusted adults they can speak with if worried and can post concerns in the worry box.
The school’s safeguarding policy is published on its website. It complies with the latest statutory guidance.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? In some foundation subjects, leaders have not identified what precise knowledge they want pupils to know and remember. This means that pupils do not routinely gain deep subject-specific knowledge across the curriculum. Leaders should identify precisely what key knowledge they want pupils to master and when, starting from the early years through to Year 6. They should make sure that teaching focuses sufficiently well on supporting pupils to retain and build on their prior knowledge.
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