Dear Mrs Best

Short inspection of Landulph School

Following my visit to the school on 6 December 2016, 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 your predecessor school was judged to be good in January 2011.

This school continues to be good.
The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection.

Since joining the school in 2013, you have not shied away from difficult decisions. You have recruited and developed a staff team that shares your drive for improvement. During your recent maternity leave, in its safe hands, the school continued to thrive. This is testament to your clear vision and direction. You and your team show an unmistakable commitment to continuous improvement. High-quality displays exemplify the superior standards you model and expect. Pupils’ work reflects the same care and attention to detail. Pupils talk about their learning with pride. Their work in books is impeccably presented. Pupils demonstrate great respect for adults and one another. Their behaviour is exemplary. This contributes to the school’s harmonious and industrious atmosphere.

Pupil numbers in the school have grown recently as it increasingly becomes the school of choice. You now have two school buses bringing children to school instead of one. Your school routines are such that new pupils settle quickly. Their peers warmly welcome them. Effective transition procedures between schools help teachers to find out quickly what pupils know, can do and understand. Consequently, no time is lost and pupils make speedy progress.

You are open about what needs to improve because you know your school well. You have developed highly effective systems to check pupils’ learning and progress. The rigour of your approach is driving improvement at a fast pace. Despite the school having many strengths, you are not complacent. You recognise that standards in mathematics are not as strong as in reading and writing. You have a good record of the accomplishment of improvement. For example, you previously identified writing as a weakness. It is now a strength of the school. Pupils use their individual targets to check their own learning and improve their work. The end of Year 6 statutory tests show that, since the school became an academy, pupils have continued to make better than expected progress in writing. In 2016, the provisional key stage 2 outcomes put the school in the top 40% of schools nationally.

Your recent school improvement focus has been to develop pupils’ writing across the curriculum. This has paid dividends. Pupils’ writing in their topic work reflects their good understanding of writing conventions in various forms. For example, pupils learned about Ancient Egypt and wrote interesting and well-constructed pieces of writing in history, geography and science. When writing letters to Santa, pupils in Years 2, 3 and 4 confidently organised their writing into paragraphs and reflected the formality of the letter style. Increasing proportions of pupils are on track to achieve the higher standards in writing.

The most able pupils respond well to the challenges teachers provide and, as a result, make good progress. Although in summer 2016 pupils did not achieve well in the grammar, punctuation and spelling test at the end of key stage 2, the work in current pupils’ books shows that they have a good grasp of these skills. Teachers explicitly teach the skills pupils need to be effective writers. Your teachers have now planned in more opportunities to better prepare pupils for test situations.

You and your teaching team have cultivated a strong relationship with parents over time. Virtually all parents who responded to Parent View said that they would recommend the school. In their comments, many remark that their child is ‘confident’ and ‘thriving’. A number comment on the ’community spirit’ and the ‘caring and committed staff’. They particularly value the ‘excellent range of trips, outside support and sports activities’ as a result of the academy network.

Safeguarding is effective.

School leaders, including governors, have successfully established a culture of safeguarding in the school. Recruitment checks are thorough and records well organised. Governors are assiduous in ensuring that both they and all staff have up-to-date training and review the difference that training makes. For example, after receiving training in the ‘Prevent’ duty, teachers have helped to empower pupils. Pupils told the inspector how lessons help them to ‘think about ourselves and what is right’. Consequently, pupils have strategies to overcome peer pressure. Pupils are clear about how to keep themselves safe when using social media.

Staff have a good knowledge of the pupils in their care. ‘Early help’ is built into the school’s child protection work. Staff are vigilant to spot any child who may be at risk from harm. You were able to demonstrate how swift action by the school has helped to tackle concerns promptly to prevent risks from escalating. When pupils are absent from school, you have effective procedures to check that they are safe.

Inspection findings

  • The local governing body and the trustees of the Saltash Multi Academy Regional Trust (SMART) support your drive for improvement. Local governors have a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. The trust’s primary phase leader is highly effective in providing challenge to support school improvement. Together, you have developed robust systems to check the progress of pupils. Governors use this information to hold you and your teachers to account. Consequently, governors’ effective and strategic governance continues to support school improvement.
  • Reading is a central part of the life of the school and particular focus is placed on giving children a ‘flying start’. Teachers engender a love of books and ensure that there are no barriers to pupils’ enjoyment of reading. Pupils used their phonic knowledge confidently when reading aloud to me. The most able pupils read fluently and with expression. Older pupils spoke enthusiastically about reading and discussed the books they had read recently. They told me how they love to help the younger pupils to enjoy books.
  • You have developed a highly effective curriculum to meet the needs of the pupils. Pupils develop an inquisitive nature. Their enthusiasm and enjoyment are clear. Pupils show clear strengths in the ability to draw thoughtful assumptions from historical sources. For example, during the inspection, pupils from Years 5 and 6 ‘opened’ their Ancient Egypt museum to their families. Pupils had produced well-constructed pieces of writing to describe their artefacts and sources. They were particularly keen to describe the stages they went through to mummify the fish on display.
  • Children gain strong phonic skills in the Reception Year. The proportion of pupils who passed the Year 1 phonics screening check is consistently above the national average. This good start to pupils’ education is reflected in their achievement. Many pupils make speedy progress to reach the highest standards in reading and writing by the time they leave Landulph School.
  • Disadvantaged pupils in the school make at least good progress and often make fast progress. This is because your teachers match activities to pupils’ needs and provide them with helpful advice to improve. As a result, they often achieve standards at least in line with those of other pupils nationally. However, until more recently, governors have not demanded enough of the school to report on the progress of this group of pupils. The pupil premium report on the website is outdated and has information missing.
  • Over the last two years, pupils’ progress and attainment in mathematics have not been as strong as in reading or writing. You had correctly identified this issue as an area for improvement for the last two years. In the first year of your plan, you supported teachers’ subject knowledge so that they could meet the demands of the new curriculum expectations in mathematics. Work in books reflects that this has been successful. Pupils’ work shows a good understanding of place value. Pupils use formal methods effectively to record their calculations. However, they are less confident when using mental methods or applying reasoning to their mathematics. You have correctly identified this as an issue and this year’s plan attends to this.
  • The overall attendance of pupils remains in line with the national average. Pupils say that ‘school is a great place’. They enjoy coming to school and are happy in their lessons and at play. In 2015, the attendance of pupils in receipt of the pupil premium was in the lowest 10% of all schools nationally. Although the attendance of this group of pupils remains just below the national average, it is improving. You have been successful in working with external agencies to tackle this problem and to provide families with the support they need.

Next steps for the school

Leaders and those responsible for governance should ensure that:

  • pupils develop their ability to recall facts efficiently and are increasingly able to apply these in their mathematical reasoning.
  • the attendance of pupils who attract the pupil premium funding further improves to at least national averages.

I am copying this letter to the chair of the governing body, the regional schools commissioner and the director of children’s services for Cornwall. This letter will be published on the Ofsted website.

Yours sincerely

 

Tracy Hannon
Her Majesty’s Inspector

Information about the inspection

I met with you and your deputy to discuss your evaluation of the school’s performance. We visited lessons together, looked at the work in pupils’ books and spoke to the pupils about their learning. I heard pupils of varying abilities read. Additionally, we looked at information about pupils’ attainment and progress. I spoke with pupils to discuss their work. A small group of pupils gave me a tour and shared their views of the school. I spoke with the primary lead of the Saltash Multi-Academy Regional Trust and one trustee, who also sits on the local governing body and one other governor. I also took into account the 27 survey responses from Parent View, the online Ofsted questionnaire for parents. I checked the effectiveness of your safeguarding and recruitment arrangements.

In particular, this short inspection focused on:

  • how effectively leaders have developed the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in mathematics to ensure that pupils make good progress.
  • the effectiveness of leaders’ actions to improve grammar, punctuation and spelling in key stage 2.
  • leaders’ use of additional funding to help disadvantaged pupils of all abilities make accelerated progress.
  • the quality of the teaching of reading and writing in key stage 1, particularly for the most able pupils.
  • evaluating the strength of the school’s safeguarding culture.

 

Please follow the link below if you wish to read the latest Department for Educations School Performance Tables and local statistics.

http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=140512

Parent View gives you the chance to tell us what you think about your child’s school.

Parent View asks for your opinion on 12 aspects of your child’s school, from the quality of teaching, to dealing with bullying and poor behaviour. We will use the information you provide when making decisions about which schools to inspect, and when.

https://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/

 

//*/