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ESTYN Reports

Estyn, the inspectorate of schools Wales, revisited the school in March 2019 to monitor the progress the school has made against the core inspection of 2017. During the visit Estyn reported:

 

  • Teachers have revised their planning to ensure that pupils across the school acquire and develop their skills systematically and progressively. As a result, the standards that many pupils achieve across the foundation phase are improving.
  • Teachers and teaching assistants deliver daily, structured phonics sessions. These ensure that foundation phase pupils develop their knowledge of phonics appropriately.
  • There are many worthwhile opportunities for pupils in the foundation phase to develop their writing skills. Teachers rightly recognise the need to develop pupils’ oracy skills first, before asking pupils to write.
  • Across the foundation phase, teachers provide thoughtful ‘cool challenges’ that provide valuable opportunities for pupils to write independently and practise the skills learnt during more formal lessons.
  • Teachers plan beneficial tasks to help pupils to develop their mathematical skills. In addition, pupils have access to opportunities to practise their mathematical skills at home, through a suitable, commercial on-line programme.
  • Leaders have worked effectively with local authority officers to raise the profile and status of the Welsh language. Teachers plan well for the progressive development of pupils’ skills during specific Welsh lessons and through daily activities, such as ‘Helpwr Heddiw’. Staff use incidental Welsh frequently as part of lessons and around the school. Pupils respond well to this and many are beginning to use Welsh independently as part of daily routines, such as when asking the teacher for glue or scissors to help them with their work.
  • Across the school, teachers plan exciting activities that engage pupils well.
  • Teachers use their questioning skills well, to target individuals and make pupils think deeply. In many collaborative activities, teachers ensure that each pupil plays an active part in the learning, allocating specific tasks and responsibilities to different group members. They make good use of valuable learning time, for instance through concise teacher talk in lesson introductions. Teachers are becoming reflective, thoughtful practitioners who actively seek to improve their practice.
  • Recently, teachers have provided valuable opportunities for pupils in key stage 2 to learn autonomously, through MIL (my independent learning) time. This provision has developed pupils’ ability to explore topics and ideas that interest them.
  • Teachers provide worthwhile feedback to help pupils to improve their work. Recently, pupils have been involved in devising success criteria with their teachers, using age-appropriate language. This enables teachers to mark efficiently, for example using green and pink highlighters, rather than writing a detailed script. As a result, pupils know and understand what they have done well, and what they could improve.
  • Since taking up their posts in September, the headteacher and deputy headteacher established quickly a strategic vision for the school based on high expectations of staff and pupil performance. They worked effectively with senior teachers to establish a well-defined leadership structure for the school. All leaders are now clear about their roles, responsibilities and lines of accountability.
  • Senior leaders mentor middle leaders to ensure they have the skills they need to carry out their roles effectively. As a result, all leaders are developing well their ability to identify strengths and areas for improvement in the quality of the school’s provision.
  • All leaders understand their role in driving school improvement and engage actively in developing their areas of curriculum responsibility.
  • Senior leaders have put in place robust performance management procedures. All staff have clear improvement targets linked to whole school priorities and pupil performance.
  • Senior leaders have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in teaching across the school and address any issues of underperformance rigorously.
  • Senior leaders have worked effectively to improve the impact of monitoring, self-evaluation and school improvement actions. At an early stage, the new headteacher and deputy headteacher established clear expectations and routines for the gathering of self-evaluation evidence. Monitoring is now robust and provides leaders with an accurate picture of the quality of the school’s provision and the standards achieved by pupils.
  • Leaders address identified areas for improvement effectively.
  • The governing body continues to be highly supportive of the work of the school. Leaders keep governors well informed about progress towards school improvement priorities. However, governors do not provide enough challenge to support the work of senior leaders or engage sufficiently in the gathering of first-hand evidence to allow them to successfully monitor the effectiveness of the work of the school.
  • The school has developed a beneficial self-evaluation toolkit that provides staff with a suitable framework for undertaking monitoring activities. Senior leaders use this well to gather information on school performance through learning walks, scrutiny of pupils’ work and by listening to learners. Leaders at all levels work together to develop their evaluative skills.

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