East Cambs infant school still ‘requires improvement’ following Ofsted visit

Spring Meadow Infant School in High Barns, Ely still requires improvement, say Ofsted. Picture: Goog

Spring Meadow Infant School in High Barns, Ely still requires improvement, say Ofsted. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

An east Cambridgeshire infant school still ‘requires improvement’, say Ofsted – but child behaviour and development is ‘good’.

Spring Meadow Infant School in High Barns, Ely still requires improvement following the education watchdog’s latest visit on March 3 to 4.

Pupils are happy to attend the school and “get along well” during lessons and break time – they are also “mostly kind” to each other and teachers.

On what it’s like to attend Spring Meadow, the report reads: “Pupils, parents and staff appreciate that it is a safe, nurturing place with a strong sense of community.

“Pupils have exciting opportunities to help them learn about their city of Ely and take part in community events.

“They read widely from the well-stocked library. They talk enthusiastically about their favourite books and authors.

“However, the curriculum and the teaching are not supporting pupils to achieve as well as they can.

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“Pupils get along well during lessons and at breaktimes. They are mostly kind to each other and teachers sort out any worries quickly.

“Pupils have positive attitudes to their learning. They enjoy sport and after-school clubs, such as cookery, street dance and choir.

“Pupils enjoy their extra responsibilities. For example, the school council has done some research to find ways to help support classmates with disabilities.”

During the inspection, Ofsted met with the headteacher, the deputy headteacher, curriculum leaders, the special educational needs coordinator and teachers from all year groups.

They also spoke to several groups of pupils to talk about their learning across the curriculum.

They met with three members of the local governing body, including the chair of governors, and a representative from the local authority.

Speaking on what can be done, the report adds: “Changes within the local community have meant that pupil numbers are on the decline.

“This has had repercussions on staffing. Uncertainty within the school workforce has meant that staff confidence has been low.

“The headteacher’s shared vision has helped to improve this. She has provided appropriate training and support, which are valued by the majority of staff.

“The headteacher and governors have an accurate view of where the school is on its journey. Together, they demonstrate a strong capacity to raise standards.

“Parents are very supportive of school leaders. Parents engage well with staff and value opportunities to be involved in their children’s learning.

“Curriculum plans do not yet fully reflect leaders’ high expectations for what pupils know and can do. The headteacher has restructured the teaching team.

“This has meant that some middle leaders are new in post. Curriculum plans for some subjects are in the early stages.

“For reading, phonics and mathematics, there is a clear structure that is mostly implemented well. This is not the case in some other subjects.”

“In writing, leaders have not ensured that teachers’ assessment of pupils’ learning supports individual needs.

“This is particularly the case for pupils who already have strong skills and abilities for their age.

“Teachers have not considered what these pupils already know. Teachers are not considering precisely enough what pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) need to do next.

“This is preventing them from achieving as well as they should. Leaders identified that pupils were becoming confused between different concepts.

“This was because teachers were not planning to deepen pupils’ learning well enough so that they develop understanding and retain knowledge.

“Some curriculum leaders do not know how well their subjects are being taught. They do not know well enough whether pupils are learning more or remembering more over time.”

On what is going well, it adds: “Children skip enthusiastically into the nursery and reception years at the start of the day.

“Children fully engage with the activities in the well-resourced classrooms. The school’s values help pupils to be kind, brave and curious.

“From the nursery year to Year 2, pupils develop skills to work independently or within groups.

“Pupils are articulate and reflective, and can say what they find difficult in their learning.

“School trips, for example to London and the zoo, are used well to enhance pupils’ learning and introduce new topics.

“Pupils talk proudly about Ely Cathedral and their local community. They can discuss different faiths and are keen to share their learning and talk about the different people who visit.”