It gives me great pleasure to be able to share with you all the OFSTED report following the Section 8 inspection of Stondon Lower school on Thursday 10th November 2022. I am delighted to confirm that Stondon Lower school, is a Good school.
You may be aware that OFSTED introduced a new framework in 2020 just before the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. This new framework raises the bar considerably for schools, especially small schools with fewer staff and less subject specific expertise. All the staff have worked really hard, since the 2020 new framework was introduced against the backdrop of the disruption of the last few years, to design and plan a relevant yet ambitious curriculum and upskill themselves with the relevant skills and knowledge. This work was recognised and praised by the Inspectors.
The support from parents via the parent survey and on the day talking to the Inspectors was overwhelmingly positive and they refer to the school as a nurturing and caring environment where children thrive.
The pupils also really did us all proud. They were keen to chat to the inspectors, polite and respectful, engaging and talked confidently about their learning and about their school. The Inspector commented on the fact that “Pupils at Stondon are happy and enjoy their learning. Pupils achieve well. They have positive relationships with each other and the adults around them."
Reading is the most important skill that children should develop at school and our inspectors noted that “Reading is a key focus across the school.... the books that pupils read are well matched to the sounds and words they know... the vast majority of pupils are reading at or above the expected level”.
At Stondon our inclusive ethos and the support we offer for all pupils is at the heart of what we do well. We take the approach that what is best for pupils with SEND is best practice for all pupils and the Inspectors commented that "The identification and provision for pupils with special educational needs is well suited to the needs of the pupils. It is a strength of the school." Staff care deeply about helping all children to achieve their best.
Values and safeguarding were also key strengths, "Arrangements for safeguarding are effective". The safety and welfare of pupils was flagged as " a central commitment and priority of all staff." The Inspect also commented on the strength of our Personal, Social , Health education programme particularly noting how the children learn to keep themselves safe including online. . The Inspectors noted how Leaders have designed the curriculum around the schools' values and how pupils' gain an understanding of values such as respect and responsibility through assemblies and through adults acting as role models.
Another strength of the school as highlighted by the Inspectors is how well our pupils behave “Pupils' behaviour is consistently calm and focused. Pupils know exactly what is expected of them."
Like all schools in the country, we are on a journey with the new curriculum from Early Years upwards, where all staff and pupils are expected to be able to know and articulate what they are learning and how it builds on what they have already learnt. The inspector, in line with our own self-evaluation recognised all of the good work achieved so far. The report also acknowledges the next steps we need to take to ensure the whole curriculum in all subjects, from Early Years upwards, is delivered to the same high quality and expectations. We have specific training in place and planned for to ensure all staff have the knowledge they need in all areas.