OFSTED visited Crossdale Primary School in November. In verbal feedback to governors and their report, inspectors were especially complimentary about the behaviour and enthusiasm of our wonderful children!
We are especially proud that inspectors singled out our provision for Personal Development to be a particular strength as it is a testament to our ethos and values summarised by the motto, ‘A Family of Learning, Growing Together’. In doing so, the inspectors judged that Crossdale met the following criteria to achieve their top rating:
- The school consistently promotes the extensive personal development of pupils. The school goes beyond the expected, so that pupils have access to a wide, rich set of experiences. Opportunities for pupils to develop their talents and interests are of exceptional quality.
- There is strong take-up by pupils of the opportunities provided by the school. The most disadvantaged pupils consistently benefit from this excellent work.
- The school provides these rich experiences in a coherently planned way, in the curriculum and through extra-curricular activities, and they considerably strengthen the school’s offer.
- The way the school goes about developing pupils’ character is exemplary and is worthy of being shared with others.
To give you a flavour of the strengths identified in the report, the comments below, in italics, have been taken directly from the OFSTED report:
Children’s Behaviour and Attitudes:
- ‘Coming to Crossdale school makes me happy,’ was a typical comment from several pupils.
- Pupils want to improve their work and are proud of what they produce
- Pupils learn to value teamwork and creativity.
- Pupils […] understand how the values that they are learning about, such as democracy and fairness, underpin what they do at school.
- Pupils […] feel that the school’s behaviour code, known as ‘The Crossdale Way’ helps them to live together well […] Pupils tell us that behaviour is good and disagreements are rare.
- Pupils […] could not recall any bullying taking place. They can explain what they would do if it did happen. They are confident that staff would deal with it quickly.
Teaching and Learning:
- Teachers expect pupils to do their best.
- At Crossdale pupils learn through many rich and varied experiences […] Parents comment positively about these wider opportunities.
- Children get off to a swift start in learning how to read. Teachers check which sounds they know […] Most pupils become fluent readers.
- Teachers help pupils to become confident mathematicians […] They ensure that pupils practise what they are learning until they become fluent.
- Pupils enjoy the topics that they learn. They remember what they have learned in previous years and make connections with what they are learning now.
- Pupils are well supported, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
- Teachers are ambitious for pupils with SEND and make sure that they are well prepared for the next stage of their learning […] They work with parents and carers and other agencies to make sure that pupils get the help that they need.
- Teachers make sure that pupils learn how to stay safe online. Pupils know that they have to be careful about the information that they share with others.
- Leaders have developed an ambitious curriculum for pupils.
- Leaders and teachers know the steps that pupils need to make to be well prepared for the next stage of their learning. Pupils achieve well.
- Leaders ensure that pupils are prepared for life in modern Britain.
- Leaders make sure that all staff receive regular safeguarding training […] Leaders act promptly to deal with any concerns […] They check that this is making a difference.
- Governors fulfil their responsibilities well. They challenge leaders to maintain their high ambitions for all pupils.
HOW CAN WE MAKE CROSSDALE EVEN BETTER?
Inspectors identified two areas for us to work on as we strive to make Crossdale even better. The first of these is the early teaching of phonics; inspectors suggested we should review the consistency of teaching in phonics for younger children and also audit the books we send home with children to support their reading – inspectors felt that a small minority of pupils had books that were too challenging for their stage of reading. We have already started work to respond to this feedback and will not rest on our laurels! However, parents should be reassured that Crossdale’s results in Year 1 national phonics screening checks have been in line with, or above national averages for the last 5 years. Furthermore, Year 6 SAT results in reading were well above national averages at both the expected and higher standard this year and last year. The progress of children in reading this year and last year was also judged to be well above average.
The second area identified for development is the level of challenge we provide for more able mathematicians at Crossdale. Although most pupils interviewed by inspectors during our OFSTED inspection felt work in maths was challenging, a few felt they were not always stretched. This is an area we had already identified from our own self-evaluation procedures and have been addressing through our School Improvement Plan. We are now seeing the impact of extra training for staff and we will continue to closely monitor the provision, and outcomes, for more able mathematicians. We are aiming to increase the number of children achieving the higher standard in maths by the end of Year 6. In the meantime, parents should note that Year 6 SAT results were above national averages this year and last year at the expected standard.
Finally, some parents will note that Crossdale’s last inspection in 2007 resulted in an overall outstanding judgement, and our recent inspection an overall good judgement. It is generally accepted that changes since 2009 have raised expectations considerably, and the following information may provide some useful context for parents: it has been almost 10 years since a primary school in Rushcliffe was judged as outstanding, 22 primary schools in Rushcliffe have been inspected since September 2010, none of which were judged as outstanding.
Furthermore, considering all schools in England, almost 90% of primary schools with a previous outstanding judgement inspected in 2018-19 did not retain that judgement. In fact, 30% of those schools were judged to be Requires Improvement or Inadequate.
Along with school governors, we believe the inspection outcomes detail many of Crossdale’s strengths. We feel this is a very positive reflection of our school and will respond to the inspector’s feedback, striving as ever to make Crossdale even better.
if parents would like to hear some of the verbal feedback we received over 3 hours on the final day of the inspection, Mr Cresswell and Mrs Westmorland will be an available for an informal chat on Thursday 19th December at 5pm and will be joined by school governors.
The full report can be found in the OFSTED section of the website