The report is available following our Ofsted Inspection that took place on 13 and 14 September and this can be found at the link further down this page.
We are delighted that the inspectors saw the many strengths that our school has to offer our children, such as:
“Leaders have developed an ambitious curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. They have ensured that it is carefully sequenced so that children’s learning builds from early years. Leaders ensure that staff quickly identify the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), and those who are new to the school. These pupils learn well alongside their classmates, benefiting from suitable adaptations and encouragement.”
“Many teachers show real expertise in how they help pupils learn. In mathematics and science, for example, staff follow carefully structured plans to help pupils recap prior learning before moving on to new content. Newer teachers and subject leaders benefit from skilled mentoring and coaching. This contributes to improved curriculum delivery and pupils achieving well overall.”
“The school’s work to support pupils’ personal development is a strength. Leaders ensure that pupils have regular opportunities to learn about their unique locality and the wider world. Pupils gain a range of strategies to increase their independence and resilience.”
“Leaders and governors have an accurate view of the school’s strengths and priorities.”
After reading such a positive report and then looking through the judgements, you will appreciate that we are extremely disappointed at the outcome for Overall Effectiveness, especially as the many strengths of our school that have a direct impact on our children have resulted in the outcome of ‘Good’. Additionally, the areas of Behaviour and Attitudes and Personal Development were one bullet point away from being graded ‘Outstanding’.
Prior to being notified of the inspection, and continuing our ‘external eye’ reviews from last academic year, we were already working with the Local Authority (LA) Governor Services to provide an external review of governance to further strengthen the strategic leadership skills of members on the governing board. This has been underway since the start of the year bringing about some amendments that have been implemented rapidly by governors and leaders.
We also had a very positive safeguarding review carried out by the LA Safeguarding Team the day before the inspection at which we were told our recording procedure was good. The opinion of the inspector differed from the view of the LA in one particular area with regards to some elements of our recording of Safeguarding incidents, which you will see reported. The LA, including the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for Safeguarding, visited again immediately after the inspection. They maintained their view that our records were detailed and completed in a timely manner, with appropriate actions being taken in line with all school policies. The LA is discussing this with Ofsted separately.
During the inspection, one inspector read with 6 children across Year 1, 2 and 3 who were assessed by teachers to have found reading a challenge. The inspector noted that not all children had reading books that were matched to their phonic ability on day 6 of the new school academic year. We asked for more readers to be heard as it was so early in the school year and we believed that this was not typical practice; however, this request was declined. Following this comment, and at the request of the school, the LA swiftly commissioned an independent review of Teaching and Learning which took place at the start of October with a purpose to investigate this further. The findings of this report have been positive and below are some extracts:
“The adviser read with several pupils. The reading books were well matched to the children’s reading levels. Many children expressed a love of reading and talked confidently about the range of different authors and genres they enjoy. Staff read with enthusiasm so that it captures pupils’ interests and helps develop a love of books.”
“There is a warm and friendly culture throughout RAF Benson Community Primary School. Children and staff were extremely welcoming; without exception the children were polite and mannerly. The children whom the adviser spoke to throughout the day were keen to share their thoughts honestly and they were proud of their school community. They demonstrated respect for their teachers and adults, saying they feel safe in school, and they know whom to turn to if they have a problem.”
“The headteacher leads her team with passion, resilience and empathy supported by an increasingly knowledgeable and skilled wider leadership team. They are ambitious for all pupils and can confidently articulate the bespoke curriculum offer for the unique setting and children of RAF Benson Primary School. They have carefully considered and identified barriers to learning, such as high mobility, as part of their curriculum design, and how it seeks to overcome such barriers to help children achieve successful lifelong learning.”
Additionally, as part of our continual evaluation as a school we already have further reviews scheduled such as Early Years and Phonics and we will share any relevant outcomes with you via our periodic Governor Newsletter.
We know we have areas to continue to develop and work on over the year, such as working more closely with parents throughout the SEND process. Hopefully you are already beginning to see the results of some of these ongoing actions.
We absolutely passionately believe that the judgement for Overall Effectiveness does not reflect our wonderful school and, as a result, we have challenged the report as we feel some of the areas that have been raised were not accurate. As offered by Ofsted, we have also given feedback on the inspection process which differed from previous experiences and felt it was very much driven by a specific agenda from the outset. This feedback has been considered by the HMI but has not impacted the text or grades of the report.
What happens next?
The LA will meet with school leaders regularly to discuss progress around the areas for improvement identified in the report and how they can further support the school in anticipation of the next inspection taking place in approximately 2 years.
The Governing Board, supported by the LA, will use the outcome of the external governance review to continue to further develop their strategic expertise. It will ensure that their level of challenge to leaders is clearly documented and that all areas for improvement in the report, particularly around SEND processes, are fully addressed.
Leaders in school will continue to lead with passion and pride, ensuring your child continues to receive a good level of education and that the curriculum remains ambitious for all. Opportunities that the school delivers to broaden and enrich your child’s learning experiences here will continue and we look forward to your ongoing support in making this happen.
As a supportive parent body, we know you that you will share in our disappointment in the overall outcome. However, please know that the whole team remain passionate and dedicated in making those lasting memories, instilling a love of learning, and ensuring that your child enjoys every day at this school at the heart of our wonderful and unique community.
Thank you for your ongoing support for our school. Should you wish to have an opportunity to discuss the report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.