Mrs Rush, the Chair of Governors, writes:
‘Moortown is an outstanding primary school’ (Ofsted, November 2011)
I’m delighted to tell you that the recent Ofsted inspection of MoortownPrimary School concluded that our children attend an outstanding school. The report was extremely positive about the school:
Based on Key Stage 2 SAT results for 2010 and 2011, we already know that progress and attainment at Moortown Primary is extremely high. It’s good to have this confirmed by Ofsted: ‘All pupils attain highly by the time they leave the school, having achieved outstandingly well both academically and in their personal and social skills… Pupils are happy at school because they really enjoy learning and take great pride in their work.’
As well as achievement, the inspectors conclude: ‘A number of aspects of their personal development are outstanding, including the extent they feel safe, their behaviour, the contribution they make to the community and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.’ Unsurprisingly, the extent to which they adopt healthy lifestyles was also judged to be outstanding. In addition, thank you to all parents and carers who have avoided term-time holidays in recent years: attendance over the last three years is now judged to be good.
The quality of teaching is judged to be good overall with instances of outstanding teaching. As part of the inspection process, Mr Roundtree observed some lessons with an inspector to make sure his judgements were accurate; feedback to us (not in the final report) is that his judgements are very accurate and reflect high expectations of his staff. This is good for us long term because we know we can rely on the school’s own monitoring and evaluating process in the future, and on the high standards expected by the school’s leaders.
The school’s curriculum was radically overhauled in 2008-09 so that children could learn through topics and themed weeks. The new curriculum is described as ‘exciting’ whilst retaining ‘excellent attention to the basic skills of literacy and numeracy’.
The report praises the governors’ good leadership which has led to ‘the development of an exceptionally strong staff team which is totally committed to ensuring the best for each and every pupil’. In particular, it refers to Mr Roundtree’s high expectations and his ‘visionary’ leadership, and cites this as one of the main reasons why our school has gone from ‘good’ (Ofsted, 2007) to ‘outstanding’ now.
An area to develop
The previous inspection (2007) had two areas to develop, one of which was to improve the teaching of basic skills of learning and writing in the Foundation Stage in order to speed up progress in Reception and Year 1. The inspectors this time reassured us that teaching in the Foundation Stage is good. This is something with which local authority advisors and school leaders agree. Inspectors now think the provision (which is more about making best use of space and resources to enable challenging learning to take place) can be improved further, with better use made of outside activities and greater challenge for more able children. Some of the feedback given from different inspectors about the Foundation Stage appears a little contradictory. Also, some of the findings appear to conflict with the principles of learning through play and with the assessment data (Moortown’s Reception children attain higher than the local authority and national averages); however, we’ve already begun to consider how we can put these actions in place, bearing in mind the limited space we have.
(The report also states: ‘Many improvements have been made since the previous inspection, including the management of provision for pupils with special educational needs’ – this was the other area to develop from the last inspection. We’d like to say well done to Mrs Weekes, who is responsible for all aspects of inclusion.)
Parents’ and carers’ views
We’re happy to note that the inspectors were impressed by the school’s attempts to engage all parents and carers, from its ‘first class website and use of new technologies’ to its more traditional ‘family’ ethos. You’ll be able to see a summary of parents’ and carers’ responses to the Ofsted questionnaire in the final report. In the meantime, it’s perhaps best summed up by the fact that 99% said that ‘overall, I am happy with my child’s experience at the school’. A sole respondent disagreed with this statement, and only a very small number of parents and carers (always less than 5%) disagreed with others. It’s impossible to deal with each individual concern in an anonymous survey, but please be assured that if you follow our school policies (whether they are for uniform, term-time absences, behaviour or some other aspect of school life) and if you raise your concerns in the way set out in the school’s complaints policy, then school teachers, leaders or governors will be ready to listen.
I’m sure some of you would like to read more. The inspection report will soon be available on our own school site and on Ofsted’s website. You might be interested to hear more about the inspection, its report and the next steps forMoortownPrimary School– we’d like to invite you to an informal meeting led by governors: either Wednesday 11 January 2012 at 2.30pm or 6.30pm. You don’t need to confirm attendance.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big well done to all school children and staff on this wonderful achievement.