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«Unique Reference Number 114091 Local Authority Durham Inspection number 325940 Inspection date 17 March 2009 Reporting inspector Andrew Scott This ...»

Ox Close Primary School

Inspection report

Unique Reference Number 114091

Local Authority Durham

Inspection number 325940

Inspection date 17 March 2009

Reporting inspector Andrew Scott

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

The registered childcare, managed by the governing body, was inspected under section 49 of the Childcare Act 2006.

Type of school Primary School category Community Age range of pupils 4–11 Gender of pupils Mixed Number on roll School (total) 235 Government funded early education 0 provision for children aged 3 to the end of the EYFS Childcare provision for children aged 0 0 to 3 years Appropriate authority The governing body Chair Mrs Pam Sneath Headteacher Mrs Michelle Forbes Date of previous school inspection 10 January 2006 Date of previous funded early education inspection Not previously inspected Date of previous childcare inspection Not previously inspected School address Ox Close Crescent Spennymoor County Durham DL16 6RU Telephone number 01388 814860 Fax number 01388 810757 Age group 4–11 Inspection date 17 March 2009 Inspection number 325940 Inspection Report: Ox Close Primary School, 17 March 2009 2 of 9.

© Crown copyright 2009 Website: www.ofsted.gov.uk This document may be reproduced in whole or in part for non-commercial educational purposes, provided that the information quoted is reproduced without adaptation and the source and date of publication are stated.

Further copies of this report are obtainable from the school. Under the Education Act 2005, the school must provide a copy of this report free of charge to certain categories of people. A charge not exceeding the full cost of reproduction may be made for any other copies supplied.

Inspection Report: Ox Close Primary School, 17 March 2009 3 of 9 Introduction The inspection was carried out by two Additional Inspectors, who evaluated the overall

effectiveness of the school and investigated the following issues:

■ the consistency of progress through Key Stages 1 and 2 by all groups of pupils ■ the provision for language development in the Early Years Foundation Stage and the standards of writing throughout the school ■ the effectiveness of school development planning, especially in relation to pupils’ academic achievement.

Evidence was collected from observations of lessons, analyses of pupils’ work, performance data, parents’ questionnaires and the school’s documentation, and from discussions with pupils, staff and governors. Other aspects of the school’s work were not investigated in detail, but the inspectors found no evidence to suggest that the school’s own assessments were not justified, and these have been included where appropriate in this report.

Description of the school This average sized school serves a community with broadly average socio-economic conditions.

The pupil population is relatively stable and almost all pupils are from White British families.

There is an above average proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

The school holds a range of awards, including Artsmark Gold, Activemark Gold, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Mark and the Shining Through Award for their community garden project.

Key for inspection grades Grade 1 Outstanding Grade 2 Good Grade 3 Satisfactory Grade 4 Inadequate Inspection Report: Ox Close Primary School, 17 March 2009 4 of 9 Overall effectiveness of the school Grade: 2 Ox Close is a good school. It has some outstanding features which help to explain why it has improved well since the last inspection and why parents are very pleased with its provision. ‘A fabulous school,’ said one. Another wrote that her son ‘loves going to school and enjoys every aspect of the school day’. Excellent leadership by the headteacher, supported by equally impressive leadership by new senior leaders and governors, has spearheaded its improvement.

It is a happy school where pupils feel fulfilled and safe, not least because of the pervasive high quality of care. Pupils develop excellent attitudes to work. Relationships between everyone in the school are outstanding and result in excellent behaviour by pupils, allowing for occasional lapses. As a result, the atmosphere in the school is relaxed, calm yet purposeful.

Standards by Year 6 are above average and pupils’ achievement is good. There are some variations between groups of pupils but little of significance. Standards in Key Stage 1 were below average in 2007 but a strong focus on basic skills and astute staffing decisions resulted in standards rising in 2008 to be close to average. They are continuing to rise in the current year in all subjects. This represents good progress for these pupils because many have learning difficulties. In Key Stage 2, standards slipped to average in 2008 but, as in Key Stage 1, new staff appointments have produced a distinct improvement. Pupils in the current Year 6 are on track to achieve above average standards, especially in English and mathematics. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities benefit from good support and make good progress equating with that of their peers.

Writing is not quite as good as reading but has improved because the school has adapted the curriculum shrewdly and has introduced more interesting topics to motivate pupils, especially boys. Pupils in a Year 5 lesson, for example, enjoyed sifting through ‘evidence’ to write up their explanation of a highwayman’s murder. The school has devoted more time for pupils to boost key skills of literacy, numeracy and ICT. Even so, not all teachers have high enough expectations of just what pupils can do. Often, pupils do work that is too similar which prevents them from proceeding at their own pace. In science, and to some extent mathematics, teachers do not allow enough for pupils’ own way of learning. This is certainly the case for more able, older pupils who lack scope to plan their own experiments, but it affects all pupils especially when carrying out independent activity and solving problems in mathematics.

The school’s self-evaluation is excellent. Senior leaders and governors know their school extremely well and have made astute decisions to improve its provision. They are very well aware of strengths and weaknesses; for example, they have made some very good new appointments to improve teaching. Although their development plans do not all show a tight link with standards, the school’s actions are sharply focused on improving key skills and, in some cases, simply have not yet had enough time to become fully effective. The improvements to achievement in the current year are indicative of the school’s success in responding to any emerging weaknesses.

The quality of teaching is good overall. There is some outstanding practice but also some which is satisfactory. Common strengths include subject knowledge and the clarity of explanations, which enable pupils to have confidence in their teachers and know exactly what to do. Teachers generally plan lessons well based on pupils’ prior learning, although this is not as consistent as it could be. In the best lessons, the teachers’ expectations of pupils are high. Good use of resources, sensitive support by teaching assistants, helpful marking and target-setting all help Inspection Report: Ox Close Primary School, 17 March 2009 5 of 9 to motivate and guide pupils; they know how they can improve. The curriculum is broad-based, with some excellent enrichment. There is a raft of clubs after school, including cookery, netball, judo and Internet radio, and there are family clubs for photography and silk-printing. Special weeks, such as the Brilliant Book Week, are linked to school priorities.

The school takes excellent care of its pupils. All procedures for safeguarding pupils are secure and the supporting documentation is comprehensive and up to date. All staff take an intense interest in pupils’ well-being, so pupils feel very safe and valued; they gain high self-esteem, as a consequence. The school has done particularly well in improving links with parents. Parents are extremely well informed, notably by the school’s excellent website and weekly newsletters, and they are increasingly involved in pupils’ learning. The school has not yet, though, been able to dissuade enough parents from taking term-time holidays to improve attendance from its current average levels.

The pupils’ personal development and well-being, including their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, are good. They acquire good social and academic skills that will stand them in good stead in the future. The school makes a good contribution to community cohesion.

Pupils are very active within the school community. Their voice, especially through the school council, is crucial to the school’s development. The wonderful community garden, currently being built, highlights their contribution to the locality. The school is well aware that pupils need to know more about the wider world and is in the process of implementing plans to do this.

The school has done well to improve since the last inspection. Teaching is more effective so standards are rising. The curriculum is more vibrant and diverse, and pupils’ attitudes and behaviour are better. Overall, therefore, the school is in a strong position at present and has a good capacity to improve further.

Effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage Grade: 2 Provision in the Reception Year is good. Like the rest of the school, the atmosphere in classrooms is warm, supportive and encouraging. As a result, children settle quickly, acquire a healthy approach to learning and enjoy life, whether tackling phonics or ‘rock-climbing’ outside. Teachers have done well to minimise any shortcomings in the outside facilities caused by recent floods.

Children achieve well. They tend to enter school with skills and abilities typical for their age, although sometimes these are lower. Aspects of language and personal development in particular have recently been weaker. Nevertheless, they make good progress and generally exceed standards expected of five year olds in all areas of learning. This reflects an improvement in teaching and learning. Teaching is good. It is lively, flexible and well focused on basic skills.

Teachers allow children ample scope to learn through exploration and play. The good quality of care and helpful guidance from adults boost children’s self-confidence and sense of security.

They also ensure that children’s personal and social development, including behaviour, is good.

Good leadership involves all staff in the planning of the many stimulating activities, formal and informal, that underpin effective learning.

What the school should do to improve further ■ Raise expectations of all pupils to improve standards, especially in writing.

■ Ensure that teachers’ planning takes full account of pupils’ different learning styles, especially to improve problem solving and investigative skills.

Inspection Report: Ox Close Primary School, 17 March 2009 6 of 9.

Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out

in the guidance 'Complaints about school inspection', which is available from Ofsted’s website:


Inspection Report: Ox Close Primary School, 17 March 2009 7 of 9

–  –  –

Grade 1 - Exceptionally and consistently high; Grade 2 - Generally above average with none significantly below average; Grade 3 - Broadly average to below average; Grade 4 - Exceptionally low.

Inspection Report: Ox Close Primary School, 17 March 2009 8 of 9

–  –  –

Text from letter to pupils explaining the findings of the inspection 18 March 2009 Dear Pupils Inspection of Ox Close Primary School, Durham, DL16 6RU I am writing to thank you for the part you played in the recent inspection of your school. Mrs Thomas and I very much enjoyed our day with you. Your comments and, indeed, everything that you did helped us to gain a clear understanding of your school in a short time. We were also grateful for your parents’ opinions, so please thank them for returning their questionnaires.

We think that Ox Close is a good school. It has some excellent features, especially the way that the staff take care of you. You are not only very safe, but also respond accordingly by behaving extremely well and enjoying all that the school offers. I know you particularly enjoy the exciting activities in and out of lessons. You get on together well. We like that your voice matters in the development of the school. We were also pleased that your parents are becoming more involved in the life of the school, and this is already helping your learning.

You achieve well in your work, and standards are rising throughout the school. It is especially important that standards are now back above average by Year 6, due to your hard work and good teaching. Your school usually expects good things from you, makes lessons interesting and helps you with good marking and advice. However, your writing is not as good as it could be, so we would like your school to be absolutely sure of your capabilities so that your work is really challenging. We have also asked the school to give you more opportunities to work in ways that suit you. This will help you, for example, in problem solving in mathematics and science investigations.

We were very pleased with the improvements in your school, including the huge new garden that you will be enjoying before long. The school’s successes are due mainly to the outstanding leadership of your headteacher, and the excellent support of senior staff and governors. All staff play a vital role, though, as do you. We feel that the school is in good shape and in a very good position to improve even more.

I wish you every success for the future.

Yours sincerely Andrew Scott Lead inspector

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