Dear Parents and Carers 19th September 2017
I am pleased to share with you a summary of the main findings of the team that carried out the OFSTED inspection in July as we have now received the final report.
We are proud to tell you that Lane End Primary has been judged as a ‘GOOD’ school in terms of overall effectiveness.
The team that carried out the inspection were very experienced and the process was quite rightly challenging and insightful.
We were most reassured that the OFSTED inspectors recognised that senior leaders, and school governors, had an in-depth understanding of what we were already doing well, what was in need of further improvement, and what the next steps in the development of the school were to be.
The report stated:
- The headteacher leads with confidence and determination. She is well supported by the assistant headteacher and other leaders and, together, they form an ambitious and aspirational team.
- Leaders have a clear and accurate view of the school’s priorities for development and talk confidently about what they have done and what they need to improve.
- Leaders regularly review and adapt provision, which ensures that pupils and their families are well supported academically, socially and emotionally.
- Governors are extremely proud of their school and have ambitious plans for its future development. They take their responsibilities seriously and realise the importance of their roles.
- They are committed to the ethos and values of the school and have a clear idea of the school’s main priorities for improvement as well as the strengths
The high standards in terms of pupils behaviour was particularly noted – and the inspectors were impressed throughout their visit on how polite, respectful and caring the attitude and choices of the children were. The school was judged as having a very safe, nurturing ethos and environment, and that children feel happy and secure. The report summarised that:
- Leaders set high expectations for behaviour. Pupils rise to these expectations. Staff demonstrate strong care and support for pupils. In turn, pupils show respect and tolerance for each other and for adults.
- Pupils show respect and care towards each other. The school ensures that there is a range of opportunities for pupils to make a valuable contribution to the school community. For example, pupils told inspectors that they were proud to be members of the ‘job squad’, where they can do tasks such as preparing the hall for lunch and support others at playtimes. Pupils mix well and move freely together. They show a strong awareness and understanding of the needs of others.
- The school culture supports a robust and consistent approach to safeguarding. Pupils are made aware at a very young age that their actions and choices have consequences. This is because behaviour is well managed in the school and pupils learn the ‘golden rules’ based on being safe, respectful and responsible, which encourages them to be kind and dependable. As a result, pupils know what safe behaviour is, so they work and interact with each other sensibly.
- Pupils are happy at this school. This is because staff ‘go the extra mile’ in ensuring that pupils are well cared for and have a stimulating, varied experience.
- Teachers know their pupils well and are very committed to forming positive and respectful working relationships with them. Pupils say that their teachers help them and they value the support they are given.
- Pupils behave in a sensible, orderly fashion. They are kind and considerate to each other because they know what is expected of their behaviour. The school’s behaviour management system makes rewards and sanctions clear to pupils and staff enforce it effectively. Inspection evidence shows that behaviour is carefully monitored and parents agree that staff go to good lengths to ensure that all pupils are safe and happy.
- Pupils told inspectors that there is no bullying in the school and they are sure that if it did occur, it would be effectively dealt with by staff.
The Inspection Team judged that the teachers and wider staff work very hard to ensure the curriculum and learning, from Early Years right through Key Stage 1, is interesting and meets the children.
- The school provides an interesting, wide-ranging and relevant curriculum, where pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is enhanced. The curriculum is well planned, based on the school’s good knowledge of pupils’ backgrounds, interests and academic and social needs.
- Teachers use their secure subject knowledge and awareness of pupils’ needs to plan lessons that are motivating and interesting. The enthusiasm of staff permeates through to pupils and it is clear that they really want to learn. Pupils are encouraged to learn from their mistakes, which gives them the confidence to explore and try things out. They know that they will be given support if they do not understand what to do.
Early Years Provision evaluated as good also, with many areas exemplified as having excellent practice. The report stated:
- Teaching is of a high quality. Teachers plan exciting activities based on children’s interests and their incisive knowledge of children’s needs. Personalised support, consistently high expectations of behaviour and a very well-designed curriculum ensure that any gaps in children’s knowledge and skills are swiftly reduced. The highly stimulating environment arouses children’s curiosity and motivates them to learn.
- Teachers skillfully support children to develop their writing. In addition to developing their fine motor skills and ‘pencil grip’ by encouraging children to thread beads and use tweezers to collect beads, they use questions and then model how children can write. As a result, children make good progress and a majority form their own sentences and include descriptive words.
- The outdoor environment is very well used to develop and extend learning, and children participate enthusiastically in different activities. For example, they learn to take risks as they jump and balance on the climbing blocks and safely roll tyres down the hill.
The Inspection team agreed with Senior Leaders and came to the same conclusions in terms of what the school needs to continue to build and develop. While standards achieved for some children were low in terms of statutory assessment test ‘outcomes’, targets for all children remain and are set high going forward. Results for some children at the end of Key Stage 1 were not as high as school leaders had wanted – and although this was for a complexity of reasons – there is both the determination and high aspiration that any gaps in learning continues to be relentlessly addressed as the children move up through school. Senior leaders in school will continue to ensure:
- Teachers are held effectively to account for the rates of progress their pupils make in reading, writing and mathematics. Leaders scrutinise pupils’ ongoing assessment information and challenge staff.
While the inspectors noted that “ The quality of teaching is typically good and phonics teaching is effective” in Key Stage 1, school leaders shared with the OFSTED their school development plans, showing the school’s ambitious plans to increase standards, and to enable more able learners in particular to attain the highest, ‘greater depth’ levels of learning. Mastery in Mathematics problems solving and reasoning will be a focus of curriculum development and staff training this year, to support this aim, so that:
- pupils in Years 1 and 2, especially the most able, are regularly challenged to apply their mathematical skills in a wide variety of reasoning and problem-solving activities
Inspectors agreed with us, that increasing challenge and ‘mastery’ for all learners is right to be at the heart of our new ‘Milestones’ curriculum and assessment system, and to be a key feature of our School Development Plan work this year.
We are also committed to ensure the highest levels of pupil skill, confidence and competency in spelling, handwriting and punctuation – and are supporting all staff, both with planning and provision, to ensure all children to achieve this.
The Inspection Team acknowledged that our new school was in a position of growth and development, and as the staff team increased each year, as would the capacity of leadership at all levels.
As the school grows, more experienced members of staff will be increasingly able to coach and mentor staff, to ensure there is a consistency of high standards of teaching in all areas of school, including with the work of teaching assistants, so that:
- all teaching assistants consistently support pupils in their learning.
They agreed with us that the school was now ready to further develop subject specialism leaders, and these key roles and responsibilities would continue to enhance provision in all areas of the curriculum.
The Lead inspector was keen to note how supportive and involved you, our parents, are in the life of the school, and felt effective parent partnerships had been established. This, they felt, contributed to the happy atmosphere of the school. They reported:
- Parents are proud of the school. They speak highly of the care and guidance given to pupils.
- The overwhelming majority of parents are extremely happy with the school. One commented, ‘Excellent staff, excellent school! I cannot fault it. My little girl is always smiling going to and leaving school. Happy child equals happy mummy!’
Overall, the OFSTED Inspection team felt that Lane End was a ‘good’ school, that had a staff team that knew what its strengths and areas for development were, and were confident that we were already moving forward to make the school even more effective for all its children.
Of course, at the heart of this is your wonderful children that make Lane End such a special place.
- All pupils, regardless of background or ability, arrive at lessons ready to learn. They show good attitudes to learning because they enjoy the work they are set. They have a determination to show ‘superhero values’ and act as ‘Responsible Reggie’ or ‘Thoughtful Theo’ for example. As a result, pupils are conscientiously focused on the task in hand and follow instructions well. Pupils are enthusiastic and generally take pride in their work.
We know we have lots we still want to do and achieve for your children. Thank you for working so closely in partnership with us, for supporting all we do here, and we look forward to exciting developments in the year to come.
Asa Britton, Headteacher, and the Lane End Team
Jason Askham, Chair of Governors, and the full Governing Body