Short inspection of Wickford Junior School
Following my visit to the school on 13 December 2017, I write on behalf of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills to report the inspection findings. The visit was the first short inspection carried out since the school was judged to be good in September 2012.
This school continues to be good.
The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. You and your leadership team provide clear direction and parents and staff alike recognise the high quality of leadership in your school. There is a consistent approach to teaching and learning which leads to pupils making good progress as they move through the school. Leaders and governors are excited about the merger with The Wickford Infant School to form a primary school in September 2018. They have a clear vision of how this will benefit the current pupils of Wickford Junior School through wider subject choices.
The previous Ofsted inspection identified many strengths which you have built upon. You continue to ensure that a topic-based curriculum together with a range of high-quality enrichment experiences keep your pupils interested and motivated. For example, pupils studying the history of World War ll also designed and built Anderson shelters and tested their resistance using a range of materials. Pupils talked about singing Greek songs, and cooking a Greek meal at home, during a topic on Ancient Greece.
Pupils and their parents expressed their appreciation of the willingness of staff to give extra time to enrich and extend learning. Pupils spoke of the enjoyment they get from attending a range of clubs, including sports, dance, drama, choir and gardening. Pupils are offered many interesting learning experiences, for example working with the National Portrait Gallery and taking part in a residential outdoor pursuits week. Pupils have opportunities to take on responsibilities, and spoke, for example, about performing duties as school councillors, form monitors, sports leaders and running their own tuck shop.
Wickford Junior School is a warm and welcoming school. Pupils are confident and articulate and these skills are developed through discussion and debate. Pupils present their work with pride and display strong attitudes towards learning, their school and each other. Personal development, behaviour and welfare continue to be particular strengths of the school. You ensure that effective care and support is offered to vulnerable pupils. Pupils talked about the good support and advice they receive about staying healthy, including how to maintain good mental health. Parents spoke very highly of the support offered to pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.
You recognise that there are still areas in which the school needs to improve. For example, you have firm plans to continue to improve pupils’ achievements in reading. You also acknowledge that you require more precision in the ways in which assessment is used to track and support pupils’ progress in all areas of the curriculum.
Safeguarding is effective.
All safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose. You ensure that all necessary checks are made on staff prior to taking up appointments. Records are complete, up to date and regularly checked. Staff and governors undertake regular and relevant training. You take all aspects of health and safety very seriously and there is good provision for pupils who have medical needs. Parents commended this. You hold regular meetings to share any concerns regarding pupils and this ensures that nothing is overlooked. Although rare, when there has been the need, staff have worked closely with other professionals, such as health and family support, to make sure that pupils are safe and well supported. The work of the learning mentor is invaluable in engaging in early support and the school has its own counsellor.
Pupils report feeling safe at school. Pupils engage in a range of activities to ensure that bullying is prevented and are proud to be anti-bullying ambassadors. As a result, bullying and discrimination are rare and pupils trust adults to resolve any concerns that they may have. Pupils have a good awareness of when they may be at risk in a range of situations, including when using the internet, and how to manage these effectively. Parents are confident that their children are well looked after.
This is an excerpt of the report. The full report can be read following the link at the top of this page.
Overall effectiveness Good 2
Achievement of pupils Good 2
Quality of teaching Good 2
Behaviour and safety of pupils Good 2
Leadership and management Good 2
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
Achievement is good. Pupils, including those who need extra help, make good progress from their starting points.
Since the last inspection, leaders, managers and governors have maintained good teaching and pupils’ good achievement.
Enjoyable activities and a brisk pace to lessons underpin pupils’ positive attitudes to learning.
Other adults make a strong contribution to pupils’ progress in lessons. Extra sessions for selected pupils successfully boost academic results for pupils at risk of not doing well.
Pupils behave well and attend school regularly.
Friendly and caring attitudes help pupils to settle quickly when they join the school.
Pupils have a good awareness of how to keep themselves safe from harm.
The school is improving because leaders, managers and members of the governing body accurately evaluate the quality of the school’s work.
Priorities for action are carefully applied to secure further developments, for example to the teaching of writing and mathematics.
It is not yet an outstanding school because:
- sometimes, the work set for higher attaining pupils to do in reading is not always demanding enough;
- at times, monitoring focuses more on what the school offers to pupils than on its impact on raising pupils’ academic standards further.
Information about this inspection
Inspectors observed teaching and learning in all classes. They visited 21 lessons.
Groups of pupils, staff, members of the governing body and a representative of the local authority held discussions with inspectors.
Inspectors looked at work in pupils’ books, samples of pupils’ work from the previous academic year, and tracking data showing pupils’ attainment and progress.
The school’s development plans and records relating to safeguarding pupils were also seen.
The inspectors took account of 26 responses to the online Parent View survey and the school’s own analysis of a recent survey of parents’ views.
Madeleine Gerard, Lead inspector
Bimla Thakur, Additional inspector
Alan Jarvis, Additional inspector