Marden Primary School was subject to a Section 8, short inspection in October 2019. As a result of this, the school remains a GOOD school.
The inspector recognised a number of strengths of the school, for example:
Marden Primary is a calm, friendly school with a positive atmosphere. Pupils are happy and enjoy their lessons. They work hard and want to learn new things. Pupils are proud of the special experiences that the school offers.
Parents and carers are happy that their children attend this school. One parent commented, ‘I am constantly impressed at the range of extra-curricular activities put on for the children, including stargazing, sports and film nights.’
Pupils behave well. They are safe and well looked after. Leaders do not tolerate bullying. Pupils of all ages are encouraged to work and play together. They treat each other, and their teachers, with respect. Older pupils are house captains. They look after younger pupils at playtimes and lunchtimes. Pupils learn together well in mixed-age classes.
Senior leaders have recently made some positive changes to curriculum plans. These are now stronger, for example they show how topics are linked together by themes. The plans cater well for the learning needs of different groups. This includes pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They also benefit from effective one-to-one support.
Pupils are keen to find out new information and learn about the world. In key stage 2, teachers ensure that new learning is introduced in exciting ways.
Pupils are motivated and try hard. They behave well in lessons and around school. They respond positively when teachers remind them about the school’s high expectations of their behaviour.
Pupils enjoy the extra activities which the school provides. These include clubs, trips and visitors to the school. The school’s values, and the literature pupils study, help them to consider local, national and global issues. They develop empathy, as well as acceptance of differences.
Teachers with leadership roles have a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses in the areas they manage.
Staff are proud to be part of the school. They appreciate senior leaders’ attentiveness to their workload and well-being.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Staff know the pupils well and can quickly spot any problems. They know how to report any concerns and are vigilant in doing so. Staff are well trained in safeguarding issues. Leaders work closely with external agencies so that pupils receive timely and appropriate help.
Pupils say that they feel safe in school. They learn how to keep themselves safe and know whom to turn to if they have any problems. They trust adults in school and are confident that any issues would be sorted out quickly and fairly. Parents agree that ‘the school provides a safe and caring environment for learning.’
There is further work for the school to do before the next, full inspection in 1 – 2 years. Nothing the inspector identified was a surprise and we were already working on all of these areas:
- Leaders and teachers should ensure that the curriculum in key stage 1 and in early years is implemented better. They should make sure that children and pupils gain strong subject-specific knowledge and skills, which they can apply and deepen over time.
- Reading needs to develop across the school. In key stage 1 and in early years, books should be more closely matched to the sounds and letters that pupils are learning. In key stage 2, teaching needs to ensure that pupils understand the complex ideas in the books they read and the techniques writers use to convey these ideas.
- Some subject and phase leaders need to enhance their expertise and their knowledge of the curriculum so that they can better support and challenge teachers.
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