Kingsbridge Primary School was recently visited by five inspectors from the school standards agency, Ofsted, who spent two days there. In their report, which has just been published, lead inspector Matt Middlemore concludes: “Children get off to a flying start in the Early Years and are well prepared for their learning in Year 1.
“A real ‘buzz for learning’ exists in the Early Years. The proportion (of children) achieving a good level of development by the end of Reception is above the national average and has been sustained consistently over the last three years. “Teaching in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 is typically good. Pupils make good progress.” Mr Middlemore says that the school is a caring environment. There is a strong sense of togetherness. Staff and the community work well together to create a welcoming environment in which pupils can learn. Relationships between adults and pupils are warm, affirming and based on mutual respect. There is a focus on strong personal development resulting in pupils’ positive attitudes to school. “The atmosphere in nearly all classrooms is purposeful and lively. Pupils respond well and are keen to do their best,” he says. “The school provides a broad and balanced curriculum that offers many opportunities for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.”
Mr Middlemore says that children feel safe in school and parents agreed. “The behaviour of pupils is good. Pupils have positive attitudes to their learning and towards each other,” he says.
Mr Middlemore says that pupils’ progress varies in different subjects and across year groups in Key Stage 2 therefore disadvantaged children do not always achieve as well as they could.
Although some disadvantaged pupils are starting to show signs of improvement, this is not the case across the school. This means that Kingsbridge Primary requires improvement in the quality of teaching, the outcomes for pupils and the effectiveness of the leadership and management.
The school’s local authority advisers have an accurate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school and offer appropriate support and challenge, says Mr Middlemore. “The English and maths leaders are determined to improve the teaching in their subjects to achieve better outcomes for all pupils,” he says.
Effective professional development is being provided and, although there are recent signs of improvement, it is too early to evaluate the impact it is having on children’s learning.
Before the inspection, the school joined a partnership with eleven other schools to drive improvement across the all the schools.
Kingsbridge Headteacher, Chris Slaughter, said: “We are a team of six headteachers and executive heads, including two National Leaders of Education, who are sharing their wealth of experience to support each other. We are all schools who wish to retain our individuality to serve our own communities, control our own budgets and work collaboratively to strive for better experiences and outcomes for our children. There is no financial implication; this is one of the reasons that we have formed the partnership. Budgets are being cut so we want to ensure that our budget is spent on the children rather than a hierarchy. Our first meetings have been very positive in starting to identify ways in which we can effectively support each other and improve the life chances of our children.”