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Unique Reference Number 108149
Local Authority Wakefield
Inspection number 288031
Inspection dates 1–2 March 2007
Reporting inspector Robert Robinson

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school Infant 
School category Community
Age range of pupils 3–7
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number on roll (school) 156
Appropriate authority The governing body
Date of previous school inspection 5 February 2001
School address  Lee Brigg
Altofts, Normanton
West Yorkshire WF6 2LN
Telephone number 01924 302515
Fax number 01924 302516
Chair Mr F Kendall
Headteacher Mrs K Wassell

Introduction

The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors.

Description of the school

This is a smaller than average infant school. Most pupils are of White British ethnic backgrounds. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is below average. The socio-economic circumstances of the area are average. Staffing stability is a strong feature of the school as all of the teaching staff was at the school at the last inspection. The school is an Investor in People. It has achieved the Basic Skills Award and the local authority Advanced Inclusion Review Award.

Key for inspection grades
Grade 1 Outstanding
Grade 2 Good
Grade 3 Satisfactory
Grade 4 Inadequate

Overall effectiveness of the school

Grade: 1

'My child has come on leaps and bounds'. 'A fantastic school'. 'Excellent teaching and support for my child'. 'We feel very welcome at the school at all times'. These parental comments are justified as this is an outstanding school. The school's judgement that it is good is too modest. The key strength of the school is the exceptionally good leadership of the headteacher. She is supported by dedicated staff and governors. The well-being of pupils lies at the heart of all management decisions. Teaching is outstanding because it is consistently good or better. Lessons are planned very well to interest pupils, resulting in them making fast progress. Basic skills in literacy and numeracy are consolidated and practised in other subjects very effectively. As a result, pupils' achievement from entry to Nursery to the end of Year 2 is outstanding. In most years since the last inspection standards by the end of Year 2 have been well above the national average. Standards of the present group of pupils in Year 2 are well above average. Children enter the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) and quickly settle. They make good progress. However, because of accommodation difficulties children in Reception have too few opportunities outdoors to extend their learning in all the areas of learning

Partnership with parents is superb. At the start of every school day parents are actively involved in the education of their children in all classes. Pupils love coming to school and they respond very well to the outstanding supportive care they receive. Attendance is good. Systems to check pupil's progress are thorough and most effective. Behaviour is first rate. It is of a high standard in lessons because of teachers' skills in managing pupils. Equally, behaviour in the playground and around school is excellent. Lunchtimes are an enjoyable social event. Pupils chat confidently to one another and to adults while eating a healthy meal. Relationships are harmonious between pupils as well as between pupils and staff. Pupils enjoy and appreciate all the school offers. They feel safe, and trust all the adults they deal with. They know how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The school council has an important role in the school. It is organised by the pupils, and councillors fulfil their roles most effectively. All these factors contribute to pupils' outstanding personal development. Pupils are very well prepared for future learning because of their well above average acquisition of basic skills and their exceptional attitudes to learning.

The leadership team is constantly seeking ways to improve the school. Its proven track record and stability of staffing over many years provides the school with exceptional capacity to continue to improve. The school has continued to improve since its last inspection and provides outstanding value for money.

What the school should do to improve further

Improve the outdoor provision for children in the Foundation Stage, especially for children in Reception.

Achievement and standards

Grade: 1

Achievement for all groups of pupils is outstanding. Children's attainment on entry to Nursery is average. They make good progress in the Foundation Stage relative to their starting points and by the end of Reception most reach expected standards or above. In Year 2 standards are well above average, as has been the case in most years since the last inspection. However, in the 2006 national tests, although nearly all pupils reached expected national standards fewer than in previous years reached the higher levels. This reflected the lower than usual attainment of this group of pupils on entry to the school. However, targets set for them were exceeded. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make exceptional progress and this is recognised and appreciated by their parents.

Personal development and well-being

Grade: 1

The school's philosophy that 'pupils do better when excited and engaged, when there is joy in what they are doing' is applied from the very start. A strong emphasis on children's personal, social and emotional development in the Foundation Stage helps them to form very good relationships and a positive attitude to their learning. Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Pupils get on very well together and are extremely well behaved in lessons. All are keen to do their best to please their teachers. Pupils care for one another and for the menagerie of hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and the vast number of stick insects as well as fish. Pupils rush excitedly to the runs and cages with their parents each day. The school council is run exceptionally well by the pupils themselves. They are proud of their significant contribution to school development, the latest being to suggest ideas to improve the grassed areas. All pupils show a superb awareness of the need for healthy eating and exercise. The school is very much a part of the local community and excellent links have been established with other schools and organisations.

Quality of provision

Teaching and learning

Grade: 1

The quality of teaching and learning is outstanding because of the consistency of good and sometimes better teaching which results in pupils achieving outstandingly during their time at the school. Classrooms and corridors are stimulating places to learn with attractive displays of pupils' work. Teachers plan lessons very carefully to ensure that pupils at all levels of attainment make rapid progress in their learning. They are skilled at helping pupils to develop and to practise literacy and numeracy skills in other subjects. Information and communication technology is used well to assist learning, particularly where interactive whiteboards are available. Teaching assistants are highly skilled and are used exceptionally well to push on the learning of all pupils, especially those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Teachers have high expectations of behaviour and these are met, resulting in pupils having exceptional attitudes to learning. The marking of pupils' work celebrates what they have done well and often suggests what they must do to improve.

Curriculum and other activities

Grade: 2

The curriculum meets the needs of all pupils well. Provision in the Foundation Stage is good. However, because of limitations of the accommodation, particularly in Reception, too few activities are planned to extend children's learning opportunities outdoors in all areas of the curriculum. In Years 1 and 2 teaching builds seamlessly on pupils' previous learning. The continuity of organisation of learning from the Foundation Stage into Years 1 and 2 is providing pupils with more opportunities to practise basic skills in literacy and numeracy while gaining knowledge and understanding in other subjects. Pupils are very interested in accessing the exciting range of carefully planned activities. A good range of visits and visitors contribute very well to pupils' personal development and achievements. For example, pupils gained a better understanding of dance from an Indian visitor and a better knowledge of pond life when they visited a local nature reserve.

Care, guidance and support

Grade: 1

The outstanding provision for care, guidance and support makes a major contribution to all pupils' academic and personal development. The school is constantly responsive to pupils' individual needs and ensures that they get the care and support need to aid their progress. This is particularly effective for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities where the high quality of the support and guidance helps nearly all of these pupils overcome learning hurdles so they achieve the standards expected for their age. Detailed tracking ensures that any dips in progress are quickly spotted and dealt with. As a result, pupils make outstanding progress. Effective child protection and health and safety systems are in place to ensure that pupil well-being is paramount.

Leadership and management

Grade: 1

The headteacher is an inspirational leader with a determination to create 'a place that will remain in the memories of all those who have been involved'. After 20 years of dedicated service to the school and its pupils, she has the freshness and vigour needed to move the school forward with no sign of complacency. Equality of opportunity for all of its pupils is a strength and recognised by the authority's award of the Advanced Inclusion Review Report. Stability of staffing is a key element in the school's success and has enabled managers at all levels to contribute to its development. Members of staff share the leadership's passion to create the best possible learning opportunities for all pupils. The school's evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses is accurate and the views of staff, governors, parents and pupils are taken into account when deciding future priorities for improvement. For example, it has recognised the educational value of providing interactive whiteboards in all classrooms to aid teaching and learning. The installation of these is imminent. All teachers play a vital role in monitoring the school's work and performance. Governors are fully involved in the process. Governors have a high level of expertise and this is used very effectively to improve standards and the quality of provision.

Annex A

Inspection judgements

Key for inspection grades
Grade 1 Outstanding
Grade 2 Good
Grade 3 Satisfactory
Grade 4 Inadequate

Overall effectiveness of the school
How effective, efficient and inclusive is the provision of education, integrated care and any extended services in meeting the needs of learners? 1
How well does the school work in partnership with others to promote learners' well-being? 1
The quality and standards in the Foundation Stage 2
The effectiveness of the school's self-evaluation 1
The capacity to make any necessary improvements 1
Effective steps have been taken to promote improvement since the last inspection Yes
Achievement and standards
How well do learners achieve? 1
The standards1 reached by learners 1
How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners 1
How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners 1
1Grade 1 - Exceptionally and consistently high; Grade 2 - Generally above average with none significantly below average; Grade 3 - Broadly average to below average; Grade 4 - Exceptionally low.
Personal development and well-being
How good is the overall personal development and well-being of the learners? 1
The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development 1
The behaviour of learners 1
The attendance of learners 2
How well learners enjoy their education 1
The extent to which learners adopt safe practices 1
The extent to which learners adopt healthy lifestyles 1
The extent to which learners make a positive contribution to the community 1
How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being 1
The quality of provision
How effective are teaching and learning in meeting the full range of the learners' needs? 1
How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs and interests of learners? 2
How well are learners cared for, guided and supported? 1
Leadership and management
How effective are leadership and management in raising achievement and supporting all learners? 1
How effectively leaders and managers at all levels set clear direction leading to improvement and promote high quality of care and education 1
How effectively performance is monitored, evaluated and improved to meet challenging targets 1
How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination tackled so that all learners achieve as well as they can 1
How effectively and efficiently resources, including staff, are deployed to achieve value for money 1
The extent to which governors and other supervisory boards discharge their responsibilities 1
Do procedures for safeguarding learners meet current government requirements? Yes
Does this school require special measures? No
Does this school require a notice to improve? No

Annex B

Text from letter to pupils explaining the findings of the inspection

Thank you for welcoming Mr Peacock and me to your school. We enjoyed our discussions and the two days we spent with you. We particularly enjoyed attending your school council meeting and were very impressed with your contributions and how you are trying to improve the school.

As promised, we want to tell you what we thought about your school. Well, we judged that your school is outstanding because the headteacher, other staff and governors lead and manage it extremely well. You are taught very well so you make fast progress in your learning. You enjoy school and work hard in lessons and all get on very well together. Your behaviour is excellent both in the classroom and around the school. Members of staff look after you exceptionally well. Your parents and carers are very pleased that you come to this school.

There is very little that needs improving at your school but we have asked it to provide more opportunities for children to extend their learning outdoors in the Foundation Stage, especially Reception. You have already suggested how the grassed areas around the school can be improved. Perhaps you have some good ideas to suggest to your headteacher on how to provide exciting learning areas for children in the Foundation Stage.

I wish you well for the future.

© Crown copyright 2007

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