As I am sure you are aware the current inspection framework is much more rigorous and challenging than in previous years. The overall judgement of ‘requires improvement’ was disappointing, but there were many positive comments made by the inspection team who recognised that we are an improving school:
- An ethos based on respect and mutual understanding ensures that pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strong.
- Strong personal development and welfare means that pupils are able to debate mature themes sensibly, such as sexuality.
- Pupils’ conduct and behaviour in lessons where teaching fully challenges them are good and sometimes exemplary.
- Standards are rising in all subjects as the quality of teaching becomes stronger. Leaders have devised a good programme of training.
- For pupils currently in year 6 there are further signs of improvement in all subjects.
- In some classes, pupils make faster progress because assessment information is used sharply to plan challenging work for pupils. In these classes, behaviour is often exemplary as pupils apply themselves enthusiastically to their work.
- Teaching across the school is beginning to improve as this good practice is shared more widely across the school.
- There are signs that children with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities making stronger progress as a result of more rigorous monitoring of their progress and better teaching.
- The physical education and sport premium for primary schools is used effectively to train staff so that this important part of the school’s work can continue when the funding ceases.
- The curriculum has improved so that pupils gain a range of skills across subjects. A good menu of extra-curricular activities, including trips and visits, enhances the curriculum well.
- A well planned programme of assemblies with a weekly theme supports pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and prepares them well for life in a modern, multicultural Britain.
- The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. The school complies with all current Government guidelines for the safeguarding of pupils.
- Leaders work well with outside agencies to make sure that those pupils who are particularly vulnerable are safe and secure.
- All staff, including lunchtime supervisors, receive high quality training on recognising any potential signs of risk. Staff know what to do if they have concerns.
- The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good.
- Pupils have a good understanding of different faiths and cultures.
- Pupils feel safe and secure in school.
- Pupils are well aware of how to stay safe when using the internet and their mobile phones.
- The Christian ethos is promoted well in the school and understood by all pupils.
- Around the school, pupils wear their uniform proudly; they behave sensibly in the corridors and outside. Pupils are polite to each other and to adults.
- The Reception and Nursery areas are safe and secure. There is a strong focus on developing children’s independence. The outdoor areas are used well to develop children’s literacy and numeracy. Teachers and adults question children well.
The Inspectors raised a number of issues which highlight what the school needs to do to improve further. These include:
- Leaders and managers ensuring that teaching and pupils’ outcomes improve quickly so they are good.
- The Governing Body challenging leaders to improve the school at a fast pace.
- Ensuring that teaching challenges pupils well, particularly those that are most able.
- Ensuring that assessment information is used sharply to plan lessons.
- Ensuring behaviour in all classrooms is consistently good.
- Ensuring the most able, SEND children and disadvantaged make the progress of which they are capable.
- Ensuring assessment systems in the Early Years are used to their most effective.
Many of the issues raised in the inspection are already being addressed in school through our School Improvement Plan. Work towards the areas of development highlighted within the report will now be closely monitored by external support provided by the Local Authority, including the appointment of a National Leader of Education. A Post Ofsted Action Plan will be written with contributions by all parties, which will ensure all areas are effectively and rigorously addressed. The school will then be visited by an HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector) in approximately six months, with a follow up full inspection within two years.
Following the inspection, we are continuing to work hard to secure a ‘Good’ category. We have already done so much to move the school forward and we remain committed to doing our very best for all the children at Gomersal St Mary’s CE Primary School.
Yours sincerely, Miss J. Barker