When I joined The Schools of Woolton Hill in April 2021, I described the journey that both schools individually and collectively were embarking on. We have sought to create a ‘primary school experience’ for pupils in our Federation, by bringing together the strengths of both schools, whilst retaining their unique characteristics. We have worked to create a high quality, clearly structured and properly sequenced curriculum that offers continuity between Infants and Juniors. Our high quality teachers seek to deliver this in an exciting manner that makes learning ‘irresistible’ for all pupils.
The assessment undertaken by Ofsted is confirmation that the ambitious goals we set ourselves are the right ones and that we are making great progress!
The Junior School was last subject to a full inspection in November 2017 when it was judged to be good. When a school is judged to be good, the inspectors will normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good. This is called an ungraded inspection. Although no formal grading is provided for an ungraded inspection, if evidence is found that suggests a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection. This is the first ungraded inspection since the school was judged to be good in November 2017.
The inspectors judged that Woolton Hill Junior School continues to be a good school.
We are proud of the report itself; as it demonstrates the progress we are making, and our target remains to get both Schools to Outstanding by the time of the next inspection.
A result we are proud of
We are rightly proud to be graded Good and this is a testament to the hard work of our staff, children, governors, and other stakeholders. You can read the full report attached to this post, but let me draw out some of the highlights of which I am most pleased, starting with recognition of the work that everyone has put in to achieve this result.
Leaders, teachers and governors are highly ambitious for this school and the pupils who attend it. They have worked hard to improve the quality of education for pupils since the schools federated in 2020.
Pupils are proud to attend this happy village school.
Our Vision and Values, launched last year, are central to our approach.
Staff have high expectations for all pupils. Leaders ensure that every pupil’s ‘light shines’.
I was pleased to see the positive comments about our phonics provision:
Leaders have introduced a well-structured phonics programme. This aligns with the federation infant school’s programme and provides effective support as pupils move between the two schools.
Other areas of the curriculum were also highlighted by the inspectors:
Lessons are purposeful and pupils work hard.
Leaders have redesigned subject content to ensure that pupils learn ‘an irresistible curriculum’. They have identified the most important knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they want pupils to learn, year by year, subject by subject.
Another area of focus for the school has been our provision and support for children with special educational needs (SEN). This was commented on by the inspector:
Pupils with SEN have their needs met through good leadership, clear systems and effective passports for success.
Our inclusive ethos to learning really stood out, especially at the juniors, where this has really improved. We enable all pupils to "find their thing"; and in this we enable pupils to "let their light shine"; Our vision is being realised.
Our work to implement the Six Strands Curriculum was highlighted – you can find more details about what this is at this link:
They know the three school rules, ‘accept, behave, care’ well. They follow instructions and are polite and respectful. Strong relationships permeate throughout the school so that pupils feel safe. Bullying is rare and staff deal with any incidents quickly.
Pupils say it is ‘easy to make friends’ at Woolton Hill.
Safeguarding is one of the areas subject to the most critical focus by the inspectors. I was pleased then that this area was highlighted in the report.
Vulnerable pupils and those with special needs and/or disabilities (SEND) have access to all that is on offer at the school. This includes a wide range of leadership opportunities, such as librarians and ambassadors. The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have created a strong culture of vigilance.
I am delighted with the result of the inspection, but we are far from ready to stand still. There is still much to do. Our ethos is very much about continuous improvement. You can see details about our current areas of focus at this link.
In particular, two areas of specific focus for me are:
Senior leaders to ensure that all subject leaders have the skills to best support their colleagues so that the curriculum is delivered well for EVERY foundation subject.
Leaders to ensure that teachers always have high expectations for pupils with SEND, together with the expertise to best support their learning in all subjects.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of the staff at both schools who not only supported these inspections but who work tirelessly every day to ensure that we push for continuous improvement to provide the best education and allow the children of our schools to “let their light shine”.
If you’d like to discuss the Ofsted report with me in more detail, please contact the office to arrange a time to talk.